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Does Quality Adjustment Matter for Technologically Stable Products? An Application to the CPI for Food

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  • John S. Greenlees
  • Robert McClelland

Abstract

Most indexes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) use a form of the "matched-model" approach. It is frequently assumed that this approach accurately reflects inflation for items that have no major trend in quality. In this paper we investigate that hypothesis using CPI data for retail food items. We find that CPI analysts may be correct on average when they decide that new and replacement items are similar in quality. We also find, however, that when sample items are replaced by items of significantly different quality the CPI imputation procedures may underestimate price change and overstate quality change.

Suggested Citation

  • John S. Greenlees & Robert McClelland, 2011. "Does Quality Adjustment Matter for Technologically Stable Products? An Application to the CPI for Food," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 200-205, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:200-205
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    Cited by:

    1. Arlan Brucal & Michael Roberts, 2016. "Do Energy Efficiency Standards Hurt Consumers? Evidence from Household Appliance Sales," Working Papers 201625, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    2. Kevin J. Fox & Daniel Melser, 2014. "Non-Linear Pricing and Price Indexes: Evidence and Implications from Scanner Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(2), pages 261-278, June.
    3. Etienne Gagnon & Benjamin R. Mandel & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2014. "Missing Import Price Changes and Low Exchange Rate Pass-Through," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 156-206, April.

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