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The Boskin Commission Report After a Decade

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  • Jack E. Triplett
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    Abstract

    The author highlights the extremely salutatory effect the Boskin Commission has had on international price statistics, promoting open discussion of price measurement issues, engendering dialogue between statistical agencies and users, and encouraging research. Less positive in the author'sview has been the Boskin Commission’s popularization of “guestimates,” through its widely cited 1.1 percentage points CPI bias figure. The author also argues that the Commission ignored the possibility that quality improvements could actually produce a net downward bias to CPI components because the implicit quality adjustments inherent in the BLS procedures may over-adjust. He points out that the motivation for the appointment of the Boskin Commision was highly political, namely a desire to reduce Social Security expenditures by indexing benefits to a lower rate of increase than the CPI. He argues that it would have been preferable to separately address the distinct issues of CPI measurement and principles for allocation of resources to the dependent population.

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    File URL: http://www.csls.ca/ipm/12/IPM-12-Triplett-e.pdf
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    File URL: http://www.csls.ca/ipm/12/IPM-12-Triplett-f.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its journal International Productivity Monitor.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2006)
    Issue (Month): (Spring)
    Pages: 24-60

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    Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:12:y:2006:4

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    Related research

    Keywords: United States; Boskin Commission; Boskin; Measurement; Prices; Consumer Price Index; CPI; Bias; CPI Bias; Consumer Price Index Bias;

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    References

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    1. Paul R. Liegey, Jr, 1993. "Adjusting Apparel Indexes in the Consumer Price Index for Quality Differences," NBER Chapters, in: Price Measurements and Their Uses, pages 209-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Robert J. Gordon, 2006. "The Boskin Commission Report: A Retrospective One Decade Later," NBER Working Papers 12311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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