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An Analysis of Substitution Bias in Measuring Inflation, 1959-85

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  • Manser, Marilyn E
  • McDonald, Richard J

Abstract

The authors analyze the substitution bias in Laspeyres-type price indexes, using 101 c ommodities. They construct the tightest theoretical bounds on the cos t-of-living index using nonparametric methods and also construct supe rlative price indexes. Using nonparametric methods, the authors find homothetic preferences are consistent with the data. Sensitivity test s indicate that this result is not vacuous. Under this hypothesis, th e bias is between 0.22 and 0.14 percent per year. Superlative indexes imply a bias of about 0.18 percent. This estimate is somewhat larger than found in earlier studies. Commodity aggregation is found to be a major contributor to measured substitution bias. Copyright 1988 by The Econometric Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Manser, Marilyn E & McDonald, Richard J, 1988. "An Analysis of Substitution Bias in Measuring Inflation, 1959-85," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 909-930, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:56:y:1988:i:4:p:909-30
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    Cited by:

    1. Wynne, Mark A & Sigalla, Fiona D, 1996. " A Survey of Measurement Biases in Price Indexes," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 55-89, March.
    2. David Edgerton & Donald Dutkowsky & Thomas Elger & Barry Jones, 2005. "Toward a unified approach to testing for weak separability," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(20), pages 1-7.
    3. Maja Adena & Steffen Huck & Imran Rasul, 2017. "Testing consumer theory: evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 89-108, December.
    4. Kovács, Ilona, 2003. "A fogyasztói árindex torzító tényezői
      [Distorting factors in the consumer price index]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 702-719.
    5. Kesavan, Thulasiram, 1988. "Monte Carlo experiments of market demand theory," ISU General Staff Papers 198801010800009854, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Jan Heufer & Per Hjertstrand, 2015. "Homothetic Efficiency and Test Power: A Non-Parametric Approach," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-064/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Carvajal, Andres & Ray, Indrajit & Snyder, Susan, 2004. "Equilibrium behavior in markets and games: testable restrictions and identification," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 1-40, February.
    8. Marshall Reinsdorf & Jack E. Triplett, 2009. "A Review of Reviews: Ninety Years of Professional Thinking About the Consumer Price Index," NBER Chapters,in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 17-83 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Shireen AlAzzawi, 2017. "Did the Cost of Living Rise Faster for the Rural Poor?," Working Papers 1091, Economic Research Forum, revised 05 Apr 2017.
    10. Patrick Sillard & Lionel Wilner, 2015. "Constant utility index and inter-month substitution," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(3), pages 1772-1781.
    11. Jim Engle-Warnick & Natalia Mishagina, 2014. "Insensitivity to Prices in a Dictator Game," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-19, CIRANO.
    12. Ambrose, Brent W. & Coulson, N. Edward & Yoshida, Jiro, 2017. "Inflation Rates Are Very Different When Housing Rents Are Accurately Measured," HIT-REFINED Working Paper Series 71, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    13. Hill, Robert J., 2006. "Superlative index numbers: not all of them are super," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 25-43, January.
    14. Ou Yang & Peter Sivey & Andrea M. de Silva & Anthony Scott, 2016. "Preschool Children’s Demand for Sugar Sweetened Beverages: Evidence from Stated-Preference Panel Data," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n25, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    15. Marshall Reinsdorf, 1993. "The Effect of Outlet Price Differentials on the U.S. Consumer Price Index," NBER Chapters,in: Price Measurements and Their Uses, pages 227-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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