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Using Engel Curves to Estimate the Bias in the Australian CPI


The Australian consumer price index (CPI) is a Laspeyres price index which is subject to a number of well-known biases. In this article we evaluate the performance of the Australian CPI as a true cost of living index by comparing CPI-deflated food Engel curves estimated with the Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Surveys. Our findings indicate that the Australian CPI overstated the change in the general cost of living between 1975/1976 and 2003/2004 by 34 per cent. The CPI was especially inaccurate for single adults and lone mother families. In contrast, the CPI was relatively accurate in measuring the change in the cost of living for two-adult and working families. Copyright © 2009 The Economic Society of Australia.

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Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal Economic Record.

Volume (Year): 86 (2010)
Issue (Month): 272 (03)
Pages: 1-14

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:86:y:2010:i:272:p:1-14
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  1. de Carvalho Filho, Irineu & Chamon, Marcos, 2011. "The myth of post-reform income stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico," MPRA Paper 28532, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Erling Røed Larsen, 2007. "Does the CPI Mirror the Cost of Living? Engel's Law Suggests Not in Norway," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(1), pages 177-195, 03.
  3. John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2004. "CPI Bias and Real Living Standards in Russia During The Transition," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 504, Econometric Society.
  4. Timothy Beatty & Erling Røed Larsen, 2005. "Using Engel curves to estimate bias in the Canadian CPI as a cost of living index," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 482-499, May.
  5. Dora L. Costa, 2001. "Estimating Real Income in the United States from 1888 to 1994: Correcting CPI Bias Using Engel Curves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1288-1310, December.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521812832 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  8. 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.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521012263 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Matthew Brzozowski, 2006. "Does One Size Fit All? The CPI and Canadian Seniors," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 32(4), pages 387-412, December.
  11. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
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