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Aftershocks From A Revolution: Ordinal Utility And Cost-Of-Living Indexes

  • STAPLEFORD, THOMAS A.
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    This essay argues that beneath the superficial linearity of the history of neoclassical price index theory lie important conceptual ruptures that are linked to the ordinal revolution, including a radical transformation in the core objective for cost-of-living indexes. Revealing these ruptures produces a more accurate history of both the development of neoclassical price index theory and its reception. Furthermore, we can recognize how transformations in this theory have made cost-of-living indexes more coherent with existing traditions of empirical macroeconomics even as they may have reduced the indexes’ suitability for other functions, notably adjusting income payments.

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    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S1053837211000058
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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 02 (June)
    Pages: 187-222

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:jhisec:v:33:y:2011:i:02:p:187-222_00
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