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Retrospectives: Price Indexes and General Exchange Values

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  • Joseph Persky

Abstract

The spreading use of indexes in the nineteenth century raised basic questions concerning the nature of absolute value in a neoclassical world of relative exchange values. Where Walsh held that the 'right' index for the general exchange value of money would identify true values, Jevons, Marshall, and especially Keynes were highly skeptical that such values could be defined without interpersonal comparisons of utility. Subsequent political debates over the use of indexation, especially those of World War II and the current period, have underlined the difficulty of identifying a true cost-of-living index applicable to all components of the population.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Persky, 1998. "Retrospectives: Price Indexes and General Exchange Values," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 197-205, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:1:p:197-205
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.197
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.1.197
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boskin, Michael J, et al, 1997. "The CPI Commission: Findings and Recommendations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 78-83, May.
    2. Willard C. Fisher, 1913. "The Tabular Standard in Massachusetts History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 417-454.
    3. Katharine G. Abraham, 2011. "Committee on Government Relations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 741-743, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics

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