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True Multilateral Indexes for International Comparisons of Purchasing Power and Real Income

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  • J.P. Neary

Abstract

I consider the problem of choosing index numbers of purchasing power and real income for international comparisons. I show that the desirable properties of methods based on the Fisher "Ideal" index do not extend to multilateral comparisons, except when tastes are homothetic. By contrast, the Geary method, which underlies the Penn World Tables, provides an approximation to a set of "true" exchange rate indexes which have many desirable properties. In particular, if demands exhibit generalized linearity, the true indexes measure real incomes relative to a hypothetical country whose income is an appropriate average of individual countries' incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • J.P. Neary, 1997. "True Multilateral Indexes for International Comparisons of Purchasing Power and Real Income," CEP Discussion Papers dp0329, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0329
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Samuelson, Paul A & Swamy, S, 1974. "Invariant Economic Index Numbers and Canonical Duality: Survey and Synthesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 566-593, September.
    2. J. Peter Neary, 1996. "Theoretical foundations of the "Geary method" for international comparisons of purchasing power and real incomes," Working Papers 199603, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Marris, Robin, 1984. "Comparing the Incomes of Nations: A Critique of the International Comparison Project," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 40-57, March.
    4. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    5. Chew, Soo Hong, 1983. "A Generalization of the Quasilinear Mean with Applications to the Measurement of Income Inequality and Decision Theory Resolving the Allais Paradox," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1065-1092, July.
    6. Kravis, Irving B, 1984. "Comparative Studies of National Incomes and Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 1-39, March.
    7. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "Multilateral Comparisons of Output, Input, and Productivity Using Superlative Index Numbers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(365), pages 73-86, March.
    8. László Drechsler, 1973. "Weighting Of Index Numbers In Multilateral International Comparisons," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 19(1), pages 17-34, March.
    9. Prasada Rao, D S & Selvanathan, E Anthony & Pilat, Dirk, 1995. "Generalized Theil-Tornqvist Indices with Applications to International Comparisons of Prices and Real Output," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 352-360, May.
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    11. Samuelson, Paul A, 1994. "Facets of Balassa-Samuelson Thirty Years Later," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 201-226, October.
    12. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-326, June.
    13. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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