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The use of Robust Estimators as Measures of Core Inflation

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  • L. Aucremanne

Abstract

This paper examines robust estimators of core inflation for Belgian historical CPI data, and for euro area Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices. Evidence of fat tails in the cross-sections of price changes is provided by traditional measures, as well as by a robust measure of the tail weights that is not vulnerable to the masking phenomenon. Trimmed means are considered in the first instance. We introduce a new estimator where the optimal trimming percentage is the lowest percentage for which the hypothesis of normality of the trimmed samples cannot be rejected on the basis of the Jarque-Bera statistic. Two variants are considered one with a constant and one with a time-varying optimal trimming percentage. The latter has a higher breakdown point. Symmetric and asymmetric trimming are considered as well. Another robust estimator, the one-step Huber-type skipped mean, which is less vulnerable to the masking phenomenon, is also examined. It is shown that the robust estimators outperform the traditional core inflation measures found in the literature. However, as traditional measures, they lag rather than lead observed inflation. This was particularly so in the 70s and the 80s when the oil price shocks had substantial second-round effects on Belgian inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Aucremanne, 2001. "The use of Robust Estimators as Measures of Core Inflation," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 61, Netherlands Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:staffs:61
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    File URL: https://www.dnb.nl/binaries/sr061_tcm46-146838.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mark A. Wynne, 2008. "Core inflation: a review of some conceptual issues," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 205-228.
    2. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1999. "Interpreting The Correlation Between Inflation And The Skewness Of Relative Prices: A Comment On Bryan And," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 197-198, May.
    3. Meyler, Aidan, 1999. "A statistical measure of core inflation," MPRA Paper 11362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1999. "Interpreting the Correlation Between Inflation and the Skewness of Relative Prices: A Comment on Bryan and Cecchetti," Scholarly Articles 3415439, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Bryan, Michael-F & Cecchetti, Stephen-G, 1999. "The Monthly Measurement of Core Inflation in Japan," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 17(1), pages 77-101, May.
    6. Balke, Nathan S. & Wynne, Mark A., 2000. "An equilibrium analysis of relative price changes and aggregate inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 269-292, April.
    7. Oosterhoff, J., 1994. "Trimmed mean or sample median?," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 401-409, August.
    8. Carlos Robalo Marques & João Machado Mota, 2000. "Using the asymmetric trimmed mean as a core inflation indicator," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles and Banco de Portugal Economic Studies, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    9. Robalo Marques, Carlos & Duarte Neves, Pedro & Morais Sarmento, Luis, 2003. "Evaluating core inflation indicators," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 765-775, July.
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    13. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1999. "Inflation And The Distribution Of Price Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 188-196, May.
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    15. Vega, Juan Luis & Wynne, Mark A., 2001. "An evaluation of some measures of core inflation for the euro area," Working Paper Series 0053, European Central Bank.
    16. Aucremanne, L., 2000. "The Use of Robust Estimators as Measures of Core Inflation," Papers 2, Warwick - Development Economics Research Centre.
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    18. Thérèse Laflèche, 1997. "Statistical measures of the trend rate of inflation," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 1997(Autumn), pages 29-47.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inflation; Core inflation; Relative prices; Robust estimators of central tendency;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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