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The Boskin Commission Report After a Decade

Author

Listed:
  • Jack E. Triplett

Abstract

The author highlights the extremely salutatory effect the Boskin Commission has had on international price statistics, promoting open discussion of price measurement issues, engendering dialogue between statistical agencies and users, and encouraging research. Less positive in the author'sview has been the Boskin Commission’s popularization of “guestimates,” through its widely cited 1.1 percentage points CPI bias figure. The author also argues that the Commission ignored the possibility that quality improvements could actually produce a net downward bias to CPI components because the implicit quality adjustments inherent in the BLS procedures may over-adjust. He points out that the motivation for the appointment of the Boskin Commision was highly political, namely a desire to reduce Social Security expenditures by indexing benefits to a lower rate of increase than the CPI. He argues that it would have been preferable to separately address the distinct issues of CPI measurement and principles for allocation of resources to the dependent population.

Suggested Citation

  • Jack E. Triplett, 2006. "The Boskin Commission Report After a Decade," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 12, pages 24-60, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:12:y:2006:4
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    File URL: http://www.csls.ca/ipm/12/IPM-12-Triplett-e.pdf
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    File URL: http://www.csls.ca/ipm/12/IPM-12-Triplett-f.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul R. Liegey, Jr, 1993. "Adjusting Apparel Indexes in the Consumer Price Index for Quality Differences," NBER Chapters,in: Price Measurements and Their Uses, pages 209-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    United States; Boskin Commission; Boskin; Measurement; Prices; Consumer Price Index; CPI; Bias; CPI Bias; Consumer Price Index Bias;

    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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