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The Boskin Commission Report and its Aftermath

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  • Robert J. Gordon

Abstract

This paper briefly summarizes the analysis and findings of the 1996 Boskin Commission Report, Toward a More Accurate Measure of the Cost of Living. It then reviews the comments and criticisms that appeared soon after the Report was issued and provides responses to the more important criticisms. Changes in the CPI, both those that were planned before the Report and those that were in part a response to its recommendations, are summarized and assessed. The paper concludes with a summary of recent research on quality change and comments on the current status of the CPI and of price measurement research. Including those improvements that the BLS has announced for implementation in 2000-2002, the paper estimates that the current upward bias in the CPI is in the range of 0.65 percent, down from the 1.1 percent that the Report estimated applied to the period 1995-96.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7759.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Publication status: published as Gordon, Robert-J, 1999. "The Boskin Commission Report and Its Aftermath," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 17(3), pages 41-68, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7759

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  1. 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, American Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 64-77, March.
  2. Lawrence Slifman & Carol Corrado, 1999. "Decomposition of Productivity and Unit Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 328-332, May.
  3. Michael J. Boskin, 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
  4. David M. Cutler & Mark B. McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia K. Remler, 2001. "Pricing Heart Attack Treatments," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 305-362 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1996. "Mismeasurement in the Consumer Price Index: An Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 5590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. W. Erwin Diewert, 1998. "Index Number Issues in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 47-58, Winter.
  7. Zvi Griliches & Iain Cockburn, 1993. "Generics and New Goods in Pharmaceutical Price Indexes," NBER Working Papers 4272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Brent R. Moulton, 1996. "Bias in the Consumer Price Index: What Is the Evidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 159-177, Fall.
  9. Katharine G. Abraham & John S. Greenlees & Brent R. Moulton, 1998. "Working to Improve the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 27-36, Winter.
  10. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia Remler, 1996. "Are Medical Prices Declining?," NBER Working Papers 5750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1997. "Alternative strategies for aggregating prices in the CPI," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 113-125.
  12. David Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph Newhouse, 1998. "The Costs and Benefits of Intensive Treatment for Cardiovascular Disease," NBER Working Papers 6514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Pollak, Robert A., 1981. "The social cost of living index," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 311-336, June.
  14. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  15. Matthew D. Shapiro & Irving Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1999. "Quality Improvement in Health Care: A Framework for Price and Output Measurement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 333-337, May.
  16. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Robert J. Gordon, 1996. "The Economics of New Goods," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bres96-1.
  17. W. Erwin Diewert, 1995. "Axiomatic and Economic Approaches to Elementary Price Indexes," NBER Working Papers 5104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Brent R. Moulton & Karin E. Moses, 1997. "Addressing the Quality Change Issue in the Consumer Price Index," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 305-366.
  19. William D. Nordhaus, 1998. "Quality Change in Price Indexes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 59-68, Winter.
  20. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557, 01-2013.
  21. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "The Determinants of Technological Change in Heart Attack Treatment," NBER Working Papers 5751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Felix Hammermann, 2007. "Nonmonetary Determinants of Inflation in Romania: A Decomposition," Kiel Working Papers 1322, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2004. "Construction Of Cpix Data For Forecasting And Modelling In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 884-912, December.
  3. David E. Lebow & Jeremy B. Rudd, 2001. "Measurement error in the consumer price index: where do we stand?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 2001-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Felix Hammermann & Mark Flanagan, 2007. "What Explains Persistent Inflation Differentials Across Transition Economies?," Kiel Working Papers 1373, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. Jochen Hartwig, 2005. "On misusing National Accounts data for governance purposes," KOF Working papers, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich 05-101, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  6. Mark J Flanagan & Felix Hammermann, 2007. "What Explains Persistent Inflation Differentials Across Transition Economies?," IMF Working Papers, International Monetary Fund 07/189, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Balázs Égert & László Halpern & Ronald MacDonald, 2005. "Equilibrium Exchange Rates in T ransition Economies: T aking Stock of the Issues," Working Papers, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank) 106, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  8. Hiroshi Ohashi, 2003. "Econometric analysis of price index for home video cassette recorders in the U.S., 1978-1987," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 179-197.
  9. Guy Meredith, 2007. "Debt Dynamics and Global Imbalances," IMF Working Papers, International Monetary Fund 07/4, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Peter J. Klenow, 2003. "Measuring consumption growth: the impact of new and better products," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 10-23.
  11. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:106:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Égert, Balázs, 2004. "Assessing equilibrium exchange rates in CEE acceding countries: Can we have DEER with BEER without FEER? A critical survey of the literature," BOFIT Discussion Papers, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition 1/2004, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  14. Robert J. Gordon, 2006. "The Boskin Commission Report: A Retrospective One Decade Later," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 12, pages 7-22, Spring.

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