IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Standard Errors as Weights in Multilateral Price Indexes

Listed author(s):
  • Hill, Robert J.
  • Timmer, Marcel P.

A number of multilateral methods for computing price indexes use bilateral comparisons as their basic building blocks. Some of these methods, such as the weighted-EKS and minimum-spanning-tree (MST) methods, give greater weight to those bilateral comparisons that are deemed more reliable (an adjustment that is particularly important for a heterogeneous set of countries). No consensus currently exists in the literature as to the best measure of reliability. Diewert (2002), in particular, proposes a number of reliability measures in an axiomatic setting. Existing measures (including all of Diewert’s), however, fail to penalize bilateral comparisons when there is a small overlap in the products priced by each country. It is exactly in such situations that weighted methods are potentially most useful, but only if the reliability measure penalizes bilateral comparisons containing lots of gaps. Using a stochastic model, we show how the standard errors on bilateral price indexes provide a natural measure of reliability that automatically penalizes comparisons containing lots of gaps. Furthermore, we link these standard errors with the existing literature by showing that they are a generalization of one of Diewert’s reliability measures. This finding provides an interesting new link between the axiomatic and stochastic approaches to index numbers. Also, these standard errors can be modified for use in consumer data sets below the basic-heading level (where no expenditure shares are available), a scenario of direct relevance to the latest round of the International Comparison Program (ICP) currently being undertaken at the World Bank. Finally, we apply our methodology to an international data set on agricultural production that contains a lot of gaps. Our results clearly demonstrate the appeal of weighted methods and the importance of adjusting the reliability measures for gaps in the data. Failure to do so may compromise weighted methods precisely in situations where they a

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by American Statistical Association in its journal Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): (July)
Pages: 366-377

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:24:y:2006:p:366-377
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Doris M. Iklé, 1972. "A New Approach to the Index Number Problem," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 188-211.
  2. D. S. Prasada Rao & Marcel P. Timmer, 2003. "Purchasing Power Parities for Industry Comparisons Using Weighted Elteto-Koves-Szulc (EKS) Methods," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 491-511, December.
  3. Robert J. Hill, 1999. "Comparing Price Levels across Countries Using Minimum-Spanning Trees," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 135-142, February.
  4. Matthijs van Veelen, 2002. "An Impossibility Theorem Concerning Multilateral International Comparison of Volumes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 369-375, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:24:y:2006:p:366-377. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.