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The Boskin Commission Report: A Retrospective One Decade Later

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  • Robert J. Gordon

Abstract

The author summarizes the report’s methods, findings, and recommendations, and then reviews the comments and criticisms that appeared soon after the report was issued. Changes in CPI methodology are also summarized and assessed, as is recent research on related issues. Based on recent research, the author suggest that the bias estimate for 1995-96 should have been 1.2 to 1.3 percentage points, not 1.1 points. He estimates that the upward bias in the CPI has declined from the revised 1.2-1.3 percentage points in the Boskin era to about 0.8 points today. Yet he notes that the Boskin report, like most contemporary studies of quality change, failed to accord sufficient importance to the value of new products and increased longevity. Allowing for these, he concludes that the current upward bias in the US CPI is at least 1.0 percentage points per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Gordon, 2006. "The Boskin Commission Report: A Retrospective One Decade Later," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 12, pages 7-22, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:12:y:2006:2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    United States; Boskin Commission; Boskin; Measurement; Prices; Consumer Price Index; CPI; Bias; CPI Bias; Consumer Price Index Bias;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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