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Harmonized Indexes of Consumer Prices: Their Conceptual Foundations

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  • W. Erwin Diewert

Abstract

The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) is the single most important indicator of inflation used by the European Central Bank. Sections 2 to 4 of the paper look at the theory of inflation indexes that could be used as target indexes of inflation. A Consumer Price Index (CPI) emerges as perhaps the most useful target index. Four different approaches to index number theory are reviewed and the "best" index number formula from each perspective is determined. Section 6 looks at the methodology of the HICP in the light of the previous sections. Section 7 looks at some of the difficult measurement problems that must be addressed in a CPI or an HICP. These problems include the treatment of quality change, substitution or representativity bias, chained versus fixed base indexes, the choice of formula at the lowest level of aggregation and the treatment of owner occupied housing and seasonal commodities.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) in its journal Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 138 (2002)
Issue (Month): IV (December)
Pages: 547-637

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Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2002-iv-13

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Keywords: Inflation target; Consumer Price Index; Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices; the System of National Accounts; superlative indexes; fixed basket indexes; stochastic indexes; index number tests; cost of living indexes; tourist expenditures; elementary indexes; quality change; substitution bias; representativity bias; chained indexes; fixed base indexes; owner occupied housing; seasonal commodities; user cost; rental equivalence; acquisitions approach; unit values; intertemporal cost of living indexes; the temporary equilibrium; asset prices.;

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References

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  1. Balk, Bert M, 1996. "Consistency-in-Aggregation and Stuvel Indices," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(3), pages 353-63, September.
  2. Paul A. Armknecht & Fenella Maitland-Smith, 1999. "Price Imputation and Other Techniques for Dealing with Missing Observations, Seasonality and Quality Change in Price Indices," IMF Working Papers 99/78, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Balk, B.M., 2001. "The Residual: On Monitoring and Benchmarking Firms, Industries, and Economies with respect to Productivity," ERIM Inaugural Address Series Research in Management EIA-2001-007-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.
  4. repec:ubc:bricol:00-16 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Alchian, Armen A & Klein, Benjamin, 1973. "On a Correct Measure of Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 5(1), pages 173-91, Part I Fe.
  6. Robert B. Archibald, 1977. "On the Theory of Industrial Price Measurement Output Price Indexes," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 6, number 1, pages 57-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Heather Anderson & Mardi Dungey & Denise Osborn & Farshid Vahid, 2007. "Constructing Historical Euro Area Data," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 99, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  2. Anderson, Heather M. & Dungey, Mardi & Osborn, Denise R. & Vahid, Farshid, 2011. "Financial integration and the construction of historical financial data for the Euro Area," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 1498-1509, July.
  3. Gerardo Aceituno P. & Gonzalo Encina T. & Antonio Escandón A., 2003. "Medición de Cuentas Nacionales Basada en Índices Encadenados," Notas de Investigación Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 6(1), pages 71-76, April.
  4. Erwin Diewert & John Greenlees & Charles R. Hulten, 2009. "Introduction: What Are the Issues?," NBER Chapters, in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. W. Erwin Diewert & Alice O. Nakamura, 2009. "Accounting for housing in a CPI," Working Papers 09-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Büyükkarabacak, Berrak & Mykhaylova, Olena, 2010. "Housing market dynamics and welfare," MPRA Paper 23322, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Ferro, Gustavo, 2007. "Metas de inflación ¿qué hay de nuevo bajo el sol?
    [Inflation Targeting. What's new under the sun?]
    ," MPRA Paper 15069, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 11 Mar 2008.
  8. Bart Hobijn & Federico Ravenna & Andrea Tambalotti, 2004. "Menu costs at work: restaurant prices and the introduction of the euro," Staff Reports 195, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Barnett, William A., 2007. "Multilateral aggregation-theoretic monetary aggregation over heterogeneous countries," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 457-482, February.
  10. Huerga, Javier & Steklacova, Lucia, 2008. "An application of index numbers theory to interest rates," Working Paper Series 0939, European Central Bank.
  11. McCarthy, Colm, 2007. "Owner-Occupied Housing Costs and Bias in the Consumer Price Index," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 2007(3-Autumn), pages 83-88.
  12. Bellod Redondo, José Francisco, 2009. "El precio de la vivienda y la inflación en España," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(302), pages 379-405, abril-jun.
  13. Diewert, W. Erwin & Nakamura, Alice O. & Nakamura, Leonard I., 2009. "The housing bubble and a new approach to accounting for housing in a CPI," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 156-171, September.
  14. William A. Barnett, 2003. "Aggregation-Theoretic Monetary Aggregation over the Euro Area, when Countries are Heterogeneous," Macroeconomics 0309018, EconWPA.
  15. Rossi, Sergio, 2004. "The enlargement of the euro area: what lessons can be learned from EMU?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 947-970, January.
  16. Kohli, Ulrich, 2004. "Real GDP, real domestic income, and terms-of-trade changes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 83-106, January.
  17. W. Erwin Diewert, 2009. "Durables and Owner-Occupied Housing in a Consumer Price Index," NBER Chapters, in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 445-500 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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