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Chain indices of the cost-of-living and the path-dependence problem: An empirical solution

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  • Oulton, Nicholas

Abstract

This paper proposes a new method for estimating true cost-of-living (Konüs) indices, for large numbers of commodities, using data only on prices, aggregate budget shares and aggregate expenditure. Conventional chain indices are path-dependent unless income elasticities are (implausibly) all equal to 1. The method allows this difficulty to be overcome. I show that to estimate a Konüs index, only income and not price elasticities are required. The method is applied to estimate a Konüs price index for 70 products covering nearly all the UK's Retail Prices Index over 1974-2004, using the Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System. The choice of base year for utility has a significant effect on the index.

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  • Oulton, Nicholas, 2008. "Chain indices of the cost-of-living and the path-dependence problem: An empirical solution," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 306-324, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:144:y:2008:i:1:p:306-324
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    Cited by:

    1. Hosseiny, Ali, 2017. "A geometrical imaging of the real gap between economies of China and the United States," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 479(C), pages 151-161.
    2. Bettina Aten & Marshall Reinsdorf, 2010. "Comparing the Consistency of Price Parities for Regions of the U.S. in an Economic Approach Framework," BEA Papers 0098, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    3. Ali Hosseiny, 2015. "Violation of Invariance of Measurement for GDP Growth Rate and its Consequences," Papers 1507.04848, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2016.
    4. Oulton, Nicholas, 2015. "Space-time (In)consistency in the national accounts: causes and cures," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86285, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Bettina Aten & Eric Figueroa & Troy Martin, 2011. "Notes on Estimating the Multi-Year Regional Price Parities by 16 Expenditure Categories: 2005-2009," BEA Working Papers 0071, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    6. Oulton, Nicholas, 2008. "Chain indices of the cost-of-living and the path-dependence problem: An empirical solution," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 306-324, May.
    7. Oulton, Nicholas, 2015. "Understanding the space–time (in)consistency of the national accounts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 21-23.
    8. Nicholas Oulton, 2012. "How To Measure Living Standards And Productivity," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(3), pages 424-456, September.
    9. repec:nsr:escoed:escoe-dp-2018-02 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Matthew J Osborne & Nathan H. Miller, 2011. "Competition among Spatially Differentiated Firms: An Estimator with an Application to Cement," BEA Working Papers 0072, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    11. Hammond, Peter J. & Liberini, Federica & Proto, Eugenio, 2011. "Individual Welfare and Subjective Well-Being : Commentary Inspired by Sacks, Stevenson and Wolfers," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 957, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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