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Evaluating Imperfections and Biases in Price Indexes during Transition


  • Jan Hanousek
  • Randall K. Filer


The rapidly changing environment of the transition may create special problems for calculation of index numbers that require a fixed basket of goods and outlets. Using referent-level data we find that using a fixed-weight Laspeyres Index may overstate inflation rates by approximately 5 per cent a year when compared with a superlative index in the Czech Republic. We find no evidence of such problems using more aggregate data for Bulgaria and Hungary. This suggests that the extent of the problems discovered might have been even greater if we had been able to use item/store level data.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Hanousek & Randall K. Filer, 2001. "Evaluating Imperfections and Biases in Price Indexes during Transition," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp186, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp186

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jan Hanousek & Randall K. Filer, 2000. "Output Changes and Inflationary Bias in Transition," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp167, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    2. Brent R. Moulton, 1996. "Bias in the Consumer Price Index: What Is the Evidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 159-177, Fall.
    3. Brada, Josef C. & King, Arthur E. & Kutan, Ali M., 2000. "Inflation bias and productivity shocks in transition economies: The case of the Czech Republic," ZEI Working Papers B 02-2000, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    4. Filer, Randall K. & Hanousek, Jan, 2002. "Survey-Based Estimates of Biases in Consumer Price Indices during Transition: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 476-487, September.
    5. Paula De Masi & Vincent Koen, 1997. "Prices in the Transition; Ten Stylized Facts," IMF Working Papers 97/158, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Mark A. Wynne & Fiona D. Sigalla, 1994. "The consumer price index," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 1-22.
    7. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1997. "Alternative strategies for aggregating prices in the CPI," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 113-125.
    8. repec:sae:niesru:v:152:y::i:1:p:60-75 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Triplett, Jack E, 2001. "Should the Cost-of-Living Index Provide the Conceptual Framework for a Consumer Price Index?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(472), pages 311-334, June.
    10. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    11. Kent Osband, 1992. "Index Number Biases during Price Liberalization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(2), pages 287-309, June.
    12. Deborah J. Brown & Lee F. Schrader, 1990. "Cholesterol Information and Shell Egg Consumption," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 72(3), pages 548-555.
    13. Jan Hanousek & Randall K. Filer, 2001. "Consumers' Opinion of Inflation Bias Due to Quality Improvements in Transition in the Czech Republic," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp184, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:106:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Balázs Égert & László Halpern & Ronald MacDonald, 2006. "Equilibrium Exchange Rates in Transition Economies: Taking Stock of the Issues ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 257-324, April.
    3. Filer, Randall K. & Hanousek, Jan, 2003. "Inflationary bias in middle to late transition Czech Republic," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 367-376, December.
    4. Randall K. Filer & Jan Hanousek, 2003. "Inflationary Bias in Mid to Late Transition Czech Republic," Development and Comp Systems 0306001, EconWPA.
    5. Égert, Balázs, 2004. "Assessing equilibrium exchange rates in CEE acceding countries : can we have DEER with BEER without FEER? : A critical survey of the literature," BOFIT Discussion Papers 1/2004, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.

    More about this item


    CPI Bias; Formula bias; Price Liberalization; Substitution bias; Transition Economies;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • P24 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - National Income, Product, and Expenditure; Money; Inflation


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