IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jeclit/v41y2003i1p159-201.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Measurement Error in the Consumer Price Index: Where Do We Stand?

Author

Listed:
  • David E. Lebow
  • Jeremy B. Rudd

Abstract

We survey the evidence on CPI bias and provide our best estimate of its magnitude. We also identify a "weighting" bias that has not been quantified previously. We estimate that the CPI currently overstates the rate of change in the cost of living by about 0.9 percentage point per year, with a confidence interval ranging from 0.3 to 1.4 percentage points. Our estimate is boosted by new evidence that substitution bias has increased sharply since the mid-1990s, and is reduced by the cumulative impact of a variety of recent improvements to BLS procedures. The study discusses potential areas for further improvement.

Suggested Citation

  • David E. Lebow & Jeremy B. Rudd, 2003. "Measurement Error in the Consumer Price Index: Where Do We Stand?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 159-201, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:41:y:2003:i:1:p:159-201
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/002205103321544729
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/002205103321544729
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. Theodore M. Crone & Leonard I. Nakamura & Richard Voith, 1998. "Measuring housing services inflation," Working Papers 98-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2001. "Quantifying Quality Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1006-1030, September.
    5. Iain M. Cockburn & Aslam H. Anis, 2001. "Hedonic Analysis of Arthritis Drugs," NBER Chapters, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 439-462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ernst R. Berndt & Iain M. Cockburn & Zvi Griliches, 1996. "Pharmaceutical Innovations and Market Dynamics: Tracking Effects on Price Indexes for Antidepressant Drugs," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1996 Micr), pages 133-199.
    7. Murray Foss & Marylin Manser & Allan Young, 1993. "Price Measurements and Their Uses," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number foss93-1, October.
    8. David M. Cutler & Mark B. McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia K. Remler, 2001. "Pricing Heart Attack Treatments," NBER Chapters, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 305-362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ernst R. Berndt & David M. Cutler & Richard Frank & Zvi Griliches & Joseph P. Newhouse & Jack E. Triplett, 2001. "Price Indexes for Medical Care Goods and Services -- An Overview of Measurement Issues," NBER Chapters, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 141-200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. David M. Cutler & Ernst R. Berndt, 2001. "Medical Care Output and Productivity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number cutl01-1, October.
    11. Jack E. Triplett, 1997. "Measuring consumption: the post-1973 slowdown and the research issues," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 9-42.
    12. 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.
    13. Robert A. Pollak, 1998. "The Consumer Price Index: A Research Agenda and Three Proposals," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 69-78, Winter.
    14. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, October.
    15. William D. Nordhaus, 1998. "Quality Change in Price Indexes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 59-68, Winter.
    16. 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 357-382, June.
    17. Goodhart, Charles, 2001. "What Weight Should Be Given to Asset Prices in the Measurement of Inflation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(472), pages 335-356, June.
    18. Angus Deaton, 1998. "Getting Prices Right: What Should Be Done?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 37-46, Winter.
    19. Feenstra, Robert C. & Shapiro, Matthew D. (ed.), 2002. "Scanner Data and Price Indexes," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226239651, December.
    20. Ernst R. Berndt & Susan Busch & Richard Frank, 2001. "Treatment Price Indexes for Acute Phase Major Depression," NBER Chapters, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 463-508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Bruce W. Hamilton, 2001. "Using Engel's Law to Estimate CPI Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 619-630, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. David E. Lebow & Jeremy B. Rudd, 2001. "Measurement error in the consumer price index: where do we stand?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Marshall Reinsdorf & Jack E. Triplett, 2009. "A Review of Reviews: Ninety Years of Professional Thinking About the Consumer Price Index," NBER Chapters, in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 17-83, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "The Boskin Commission Report and its Aftermath," NBER Working Papers 7759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ernst R. Berndt & David M. Cutler & Richard Frank & Zvi Griliches & Joseph P. Newhouse & Jack E. Triplett, 2001. "Price Indexes for Medical Care Goods and Services -- An Overview of Measurement Issues," NBER Chapters, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 141-200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Hoffmann, Johannes, 1998. "Problems of inflation measurement in Germany," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 1998,01e, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    6. Svedberg, Peter & Tilton, John E., 2006. "The real, real price of nonrenewable resources: copper 1870-2000," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 501-519, March.
    7. Ingvild Almås & Timothy K.M. Beatty & Thomas F. Crossley, 2018. "Lost in Translation: What do Engel Curves Tell us about the Cost of Living?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6886, CESifo.
    8. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson & Miao Liu, 2016. "Are Chinese Growth and Inflation Too Smooth? Evidence from Engel Curves," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 113-144, July.
    9. Aizcorbe, Ana & Nestoriak, Nicole, 2011. "Changing mix of medical care services: Stylized facts and implications for price indexes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 568-574, May.
    10. Joseph P. Newhouse, 2001. "Medical Care Price Indices: Problems and Opportunities / The Chung-Hua Lectures," NBER Working Papers 8168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 1999. "Measurement Errors in the Japanese Consumer Price Index," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 17(3), pages 69-102, December.
    12. Mark A. Wynne & Diego Rodriguez‐Palenzuela, 2004. "Measurement Bias in the HICP: What do we know and What do we need to know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 79-112, February.
    13. Robert J. Gordon, 2006. "The Boskin Commission Report: A Retrospective One Decade Later," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 12, pages 7-22, Spring.
    14. 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.
    15. Anne E. Hall, 2015. "Adjusting the Measurement of the Output of the Medical Sector for Quality: A Review of the Literature," BEA Working Papers 0122, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    16. 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.
    17. Lieu, Pang-Tien & Liang, Jung-Hui & Chen, Jui-Hui, 2008. "Consumer preferences and cost of living in Taiwan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 224-235, June.
    18. R. A. Somerville, 2004. "Changes in Relative Consumer Prices and the Substitution Bias of the Laspeyres Price Index - Ireland, 1985-2001," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 35(1), pages 55-82.
    19. Antonio Cabrales & Sergi Jiménez‐Martín, 2013. "The Determinants Of Pricing In Pharmaceuticals: Are Us Prices Really So High?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(11), pages 1377-1397, November.
    20. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2010. "Product Creation and Destruction: Evidence and Price Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 691-723, June.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:41:y:2003:i:1:p:159-201. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.