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Changes in Relative Consumer Prices and the Substitution Bias of the Laspeyres Price Index - Ireland, 1985-2001

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  • R. A. Somerville

    (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

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    Abstract

    This paper shows that Irish relative consumer prices have changed significantly, 1985- 2001, at the ten commodity-group level. A “true” cost-of-living index is derived from Madden’s (1993) parameter estimates for an Almost Ideal Demand System. Despite relative price changes, the substitution bias of a computed Laspeyres index is small, and the official Consumer Price Index tracks the computed index closely. Superlative indices are also constructed, but are not satisfactory cost-of-living indices in this context. Cost-of-living indices are computed for different income groups, and the impact of inflation in recent years is found to be negatively correlated with income.

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    File URL: http://www.esr.ie/Vol35_1Somervill.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2004
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Economic and Social Studies in its journal Economic and Social Review.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 55-82

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    Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:35:y:2004:i:1:p:55-82

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    Web page: http://www.esr.ie

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    1. W. Erwin Diewert, 1998. "Index Number Issues in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 47-58, Winter.
    2. Braithwait, Steven D, 1980. "The Substitution Bias of the Laspeyres Price Index: An Analysis Using Estimated Cost-of-Living Indexes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 64-77, March.
    3. Michael J. Boskin, 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
    4. Fielding, David & Mizen, Paul, 2000. "Relative Price Variability and Inflation in Europe," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(265), pages 57-78, February.
    5. Brent R. Moulton, 1996. "Bias in the Consumer Price Index: What Is the Evidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 159-177, Fall.
    6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    7. Parks, Richard W, 1978. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-95, February.
    8. Denis Conniffe & John Eakins, 2003. "Does the Stochastic Specification of the Linear Expenditure System Matter?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 34(1), pages 23–32.
    9. Charles L. Schultze, 2003. "The Consumer Price Index: Conceptual Issues and Practical Suggestions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
    10. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1997. "Alternative strategies for aggregating prices in the CPI," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 113-125.
    11. Angus Deaton, 1998. "Getting Prices Right: What Should Be Done?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 37-46, Winter.
    12. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
    13. Blow, Laura & Crawford, Ian, 2001. "The Cost of Living with the RPI: Substitution Bias in the UK Retail Prices Index," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(472), pages F357-82, June.
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