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Sources of Bias and Solutions to Bias in the Consumer Price Index

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  • Jerry Hausman

Abstract

Four sources of bias in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) have been identified. The most discussed is substitution bias, which creates a second order bias in the CPI. Three other changes besides prices changes create first order effects on a correctly measured cost of living index (COLI). I explain in this paper that a "pure price" based approach of surveying prices to estimate a COLI cannot succeed in solving the 3 problems of first order bias. I discuss economic and econometric approaches to measuring the first order bias effects as well as the availability of scanner data that would permit implementation of the techniques.

Suggested Citation

  • Jerry Hausman, 2003. "Sources of Bias and Solutions to Bias in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 23-44, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:17:y:2003:i:1:p:23-44
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533003321164930
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Amil Petrin, 2002. "Quantifying the Benefits of New Products: The Case of the Minivan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 705-729, August.
    2. repec:adr:anecst:y:1994:i:34:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Silver, Mick & Heravi, Saeed, 2001. "Scanner Data and the Measurement of Inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(472), pages 383-404, June.
    4. Hausman, Jerry A & Leonard, Gregory K, 2002. "The Competitive Effects of a New Product Introduction: A Case Study," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 237-263, September.
    5. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
    6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    7. Pollak, Robert A., 1989. "The Theory of the Cost-of-Living Index," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195058703.
    8. Hausman, Jerry, 1999. "Cellular Telephone, New Products, and the CPI," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(2), pages 188-194, April.
    9. W. Erwin Diewert, 1998. "Index Number Issues in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 47-58, Winter.
    10. Katharine G. Abraham & John S. Greenlees & Brent R. Moulton, 1998. "Working to Improve the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 27-36, Winter.
    11. Hausman, Jerry A, 1981. "Exact Consumer's Surplus and Deadweight Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 662-676, September.
    12. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, May.
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