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Chain indices of the cost-of-living and the path-dependence problem: An empirical solution

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  • Oulton, Nicholas

Abstract

This paper proposes a new method for estimating true cost-of-living (Konüs) indices, for large numbers of commodities, using data only on prices, aggregate budget shares and aggregate expenditure. Conventional chain indices are path-dependent unless income elasticities are (implausibly) all equal to 1. The method allows this difficulty to be overcome. I show that to estimate a Konüs index, only income and not price elasticities are required. The method is applied to estimate a Konüs price index for 70 products covering nearly all the UK's Retail Prices Index over 1974-2004, using the Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System. The choice of base year for utility has a significant effect on the index.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 144 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 306-324

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Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:144:y:2008:i:1:p:306-324

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconom

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  13. Oulton, Nicholas, 2008. "Chain indices of the cost-of-living and the path-dependence problem: An empirical solution," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 306-324, May.
  14. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Bettina Aten & Eric Figueroa & Troy Martin, 2011. "Notes on Estimating the Multi-Year Regional Price Parities by 16 Expenditure Categories: 2005-2009," BEA Working Papers 0071, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  2. Oulton, Nicholas, 2008. "Chain indices of the cost-of-living and the path-dependence problem: An empirical solution," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 306-324, May.
  3. Nicholas Oulton, 2009. "How to Measure Living Standards and Productivity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0949, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Matthew J Osborne & Nathan H. Miller, 2011. "Competition among Spatially Differentiated Firms: An Estimator with an Application to Cement," BEA Working Papers 0072, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  5. Hammond, Peter J. & Liberini, Federica & Proto, Eugenio, 2011. "Individual Welfare and Subjective Well-Being : Commentary Inspired by Sacks, Stevenson and Wolfers," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 957, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Bettina Aten & Marshall Reinsdorf, 2010. "Comparing the Consistency of Price Parities for Regions of the U.S. in an Economic Approach Framework," BEA Papers 0098, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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