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Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living

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  • Michael J. Boskin

Abstract

After presenting major findings and recommendations, the CPI Commission reiterates the estimate of a 1.1 percentage point per annum upward bias. It rejects the contention that the BLS already makes substantial corrections for quality change; that quality improvements and new products accrue only to the rich; and that procedures to make more extensive quality adjustments, valuations of new products, and adjustments for commodity and outlet substitution are impractical. The bias in the CPI can be sharply reduced, as the authors detail in this paper. Coauthors are Ellen R. Dulberger, Robert J. Gordon, Zvi Griliches, and Dale W. Jorgenson.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:1:p:3-26
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.3
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.1.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    4. 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.
    5. Bodie, Zvi & Shoven, John B. & Wise, David A. (ed.), 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226062846, March.
    6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael J. Boskin & John B. Shoven, 1984. "Concepts and Measures of Earnings Replacement During Retirement," NBER Working Papers 1360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Boskin, Michael J & Jorgenson, Dale W, 1997. "Implications of Overstating Inflation for Indexing Government Programs and Understanding Economic Progress," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 89-93, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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