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Using Engel Curves to Estimate the Bias in the Australian CPI

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  • GARRY F. BARRETT
  • MATTHEW BRZOZOWSKI

Abstract

The Australian consumer price index (CPI) is a Laspeyres price index which is subject to a number of well-known biases. In this article we evaluate the performance of the Australian CPI as a true cost of living index by comparing CPI-deflated food Engel curves estimated with the Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Surveys. Our findings indicate that the Australian CPI overstated the change in the general cost of living between 1975/1976 and 2003/2004 by 34 per cent. The CPI was especially inaccurate for single adults and lone mother families. In contrast, the CPI was relatively accurate in measuring the change in the cost of living for two-adult and working families. Copyright © 2009 The Economic Society of Australia.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal Economic Record.

Volume (Year): 86 (2010)
Issue (Month): 272 (03)
Pages: 1-14

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:86:y:2010:i:272:p:1-14

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References

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  1. Jerry Hausman, 2003. "Sources of Bias and Solutions to Bias in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 23-44, Winter.
  2. Yatchew,Adonis, 2003. "Semiparametric Regression for the Applied Econometrician," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521012263, April.
  3. John Gibson & Steven Stillman & Trinh Le, 2004. "CPI Bias and Real Living Standards in Russia During the Transition," Working Papers in Economics 04/02, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  4. Erling Røed Larsen, 2007. "Does the CPI Mirror the Cost of Living? Engel's Law Suggests Not in Norway," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(1), pages 177-195, 03.
  5. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
  6. de Carvalho Filho, Irineu & Chamon, Marcos, 2011. "The myth of post-reform income stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico," MPRA Paper 28532, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  8. Matthew Brzozowski, 2006. "Does One Size Fit All? The CPI and Canadian Seniors," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 32(4), pages 387-412, December.
  9. Timothy Beatty & Erling Røed Larsen, 2005. "Using Engel curves to estimate bias in the Canadian CPI as a cost of living index," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 482-499, May.
  10. Dora L. Costa, 2001. "Estimating Real Income in the United States from 1888 to 1994: Correcting CPI Bias Using Engel Curves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1288-1310, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Susan Olivia & John Gibson, 2012. "Using Engel Curves to Measure CPI Bias for Indonesia," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 13/12, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  2. Almås, Ingvild & Johnsen, Åshild Auglænd, 2012. "The cost of living in China: Implications for inequality and poverty," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 21/2012, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  3. de Carvalho Filho, Irineu & Chamon, Marcos, 2011. "The myth of post-reform income stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico," MPRA Paper 28532, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Ingvild Almas & Anders Kjelsrud & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "A Behaviour-Based Approach To The Estimation Of Poverty In India," Working papers 226, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  5. Kazuhito Higa, 2013. "Estimating Upward Bias in the Japanese CPI Using Engel's Law," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-295, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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