Distributional aspects of the quality change bias in the CPI: evidence from Spain
In this paper we address the issue of the distributional consequences of the quality change bias (QCB) in the CPI. In particular, we assess the conjecture raised by some critics of the Boskin commission report that new products and goods affected by quality effects are disproportionately consumed by the rich. Our analysis begins with the observation that the CPI is a weighted mean of household-specific statistical price indexes, with weights proportional to household total expenditures. Then, we suggest a simple but powerful procedure to evaluate the distributional consequences of eliminating the QCB by examining its impact on two scalars: (1) the CPI plutocratic bias, and (2) the change in money inequality after compensating every household for her individual inflation rate. The empirical analysis combines the detailed information pertaining the size of the QCB for the U.S. with household-specific price indexes for Spain in 1973-74, 1980-81, and 1990-91. The results show that, as conjectured, the quality bias especially affects the richer households.
(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.
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.
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.:
- Gordon, Robert J & Griliches, Zvi, 1997. "Quality Change and New Products," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 84-88, May.
- Angus Deaton, 1998. "Getting Prices Right: What Should Be Done?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 37-46, Winter.
- Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Differences in Needs and Assessment of Income Distributions," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 77-124, April.
- Brent R. Moulton & Karin E. Moses, 1997. "Addressing the Quality Change Issue in the Consumer Price Index," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 305-366.
- Jeffrey A. Mills & Sourushe Zandvakili, 1999.
"Statistical Inference via Bootstrapping for Measures of Inequality,"
- Mills, Jeffrey A & Zandvakili, Sourushe, 1997. "Statistical Inference via Bootstrapping for Measures of Inequality," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 133-150, March-Apr.
- J. Ruiz-Castillo & E. Ley & M. Izquierdo, 2002.
"The Laspeyres bias in the Spanish consumer price index,"
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(18), pages 2267-2276.
- Javier Ruiz-Castillo & Eduardo Ley & Mario Izquierdo, "undated". "The Laspeyres bias in the Spanish consumer price index," Studies on the Spanish Economy 72, FEDEA.
- Javier Ruiz Castillo & Eduardo Ley & Mario Izquierdo, "undated". "The laspeyres bias in the Spanish consumer price index," Working Papers 2000-05, FEDEA.
- Javier Ruiz Castillo & Eduardo Ley & Mario Izquierdo, 2000.
"The Plutocratic Bias in the CPI; Evidence from Spain,"
IMF Working Papers
00/167, International Monetary Fund.
- Javier Ruiz-Castillo & Eduardo Ley & Mario Izquierdo, "undated". "The plutocratic bias in the CPI: Evidence from Spain," Studies on the Spanish Economy 60, FEDEA.
- Robert A. Pollak, 1998. "The Consumer Price Index: A Research Agenda and Three Proposals," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 69-78, Winter.
- Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-142, June.
- Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-1082, September.
- Michael J. Boskin, 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
- Robert T. Michael, 1975. "Variation Across Household in the Rate of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 0074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cowell, Frank A. & Kuga, Kiyoshi, 1981. "Additivity and the entropy concept: An axiomatic approach to inequality measurement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 131-143, August.
- Michael, Robert T, 1979. "Variation across Households in the Rate of Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(1), pages 32-46, February.
- Thesia I. Garner & Javier Ruiz-Castillo & Mercedes Sastre, 2003. "The Influence of Demographics and Household-Specific Price Indices on Consumption-Based Inequality and Welfare: A Comparison of Spain and the United States," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 22-48, July.
- John Muellbauer, 1974. "Inequality Measures, Prices and Household Composition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 493-504.
- Theil, Henri, 1979. "Variations across households in the rate of inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 37-39.
- Ruiz-Castillo, Javier & Sastre, Mercedes & Garner, Thesia I., 1999. "The influence of demographic and household specific price indices on expenditure based inequality and welfare: a comparison of Spain and the United States," UC3M Working papers. Economics 6165, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
- Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-1385, November.
- Hagemann, Robert P, 1982. "The Variability of Inflation Rates across Household Types," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(4), pages 494-510, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:76:y:2002:i:1:p:137-144. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)
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.