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Using Engel curves to estimate bias in the Canadian CPI as a cost of living index

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  • Timothy Beatty
  • Erling Røed Larsen

Abstract

Semiparametric Engel curves are used to infer bias in the Canadian CPI as a Cost of Living Index. The budget share of food has long been used as an indicator of welfare. We compare households with the same levels of CPI deflated total expenditure over the period 1978-2000. Differences in the expenditure share of food are attributed to the CPI failing to capture changes in costs of living. We employ a novel econometric approach using a single index penalized linear spline model. Over the period, we find that the CPI overstated changes in the cost of living between 1.33 and 1.86% for the four household types considered.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:38:y:2005:i:2:p:482-499
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    Cited by:

    1. Garry F. Barrett & Matthew Brzozowski, 2010. "Using Engel Curves to Estimate the Bias in the Australian CPI," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(272), pages 1-14, March.
    2. Timothy K.M. Beatty & Erling Røed Larsen & Dag Einar Sommervoll, 2005. "Measuring the Price of Housing Consumption for Owners in the CPI," Discussion Papers 427, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    3. Almås, Ingvild & Johnsen, Åshild Auglænd, 2012. "The cost of living in China: Implications for inequality and poverty," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 21/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. Ingvild Almas, 2012. "International Income Inequality: Measuring PPP Bias by Estimating Engel Curves for Food," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1093-1117, April.
    6. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim & Chul Chung, 2008. "Using Panel Data to Exactly Estimate Under-Reporting by the Self-Employed," Working Papers in Economics 08/15, University of Waikato.
    7. Ingvild Almås & Anders Kjelsrud & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "A Behaviour-based Approach to the Estimation of Poverty in India," CESifo Working Paper Series 4122, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson & Miao Liu, 2016. "Are Chinese Growth and Inflation Too Smooth? Evidence from Engel Curves," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 113-144, July.
    9. Filho, Irineu de Carvalho & Chamon, Marcos, 2012. "The myth of post-reform income stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 368-386.
    10. Erling Røed Larsen, 2014. "Is the Engel curve approach viable in the estimation of alternative PPPs?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 881-904, November.
    11. Susan Olivia & John Gibson, 2013. "Using Engel curves to measure CPI bias for Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 85-101, April.
    12. Chamon, Marcos & de Carvalho Filho, Irineu, 2014. "Consumption based estimates of urban Chinese growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 126-137.
    13. Kim , Bonggeun & Gibson , John & Chung , Chul, 2009. "Using Panel Data to Exactly Estimate Income Under-Reporting by the Self Employed," Working Papers 09-2, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.
    14. Rahul Anand & Naresh Kumar & Volodymyr Tulin, 2016. "Understanding India’s Food Inflation; The Role of Demand and Supply Factors," IMF Working Papers 16/2, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Gaddis,Isis, 2016. "Prices for poverty analysis in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7652, The World Bank.
    16. Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2016. "Is there a quality bias in the Canadian CPI? Evidence from microdata," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1401-1424, November.
    17. Trevon D. Logan, 2008. "Are Engel Curve Estimates of CPI Bias Biased?," NBER Working Papers 13870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven & Le, Trinh, 2008. "CPI bias and real living standards in Russia during the transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 140-160, August.
    19. Irineu E de Carvalho Filho & Marcos Chamon, 2006. "The Myth of Post-Reform Income Stagnation in Brazil," IMF Working Papers 06/275, International Monetary Fund.
    20. James Rossiter, 2005. "Measurement Bias in the Canadian Consumer Price Index," Staff Working Papers 05-39, Bank of Canada.
    21. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Larsen, Erling Røed & Sommervoll, Dag Einar, 2010. "Using house prices to compute the price of housing in the CPI," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 238-240, March.
    22. Wynne, Mark A., 2008. "How should central banks define price stability?," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 08, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    23. Ingvild Almås, 2008. "International Income Inequality: Measuring PPP Bias by Estimating Engel Curves for Food," LIS Working papers 473, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    24. Majumder,Amita & Ray,Ranjan & Santra,Sattwik, 2015. "Preferences, purchasing power parity, and inequality : analytical framework, propositions, and empirical evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7395, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General

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