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Household inflation experiences in the U.S.: a comprehensive approach

  • Bart Hobijn
  • Kristin Mayer
  • Carter Stennis
  • Giorgio Topa

We present new measures of household-specific inflation experiences based on comprehensive information from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). We match households in the Interview and the Diary Surveys from the CEX to produce both complete and detailed pictures of household expenditures. The resulting household inflation measures are based on a more accurate and detailed description of household expenditures than those previously available. We find that our household-based inflation measures track aggregate measures such as the CPI-U quite well and that the addition of Diary Survey data induces small but significant differences in the measurement of household inflation. The distribution of inflation experiences across households exhibits a large amount of dispersion over the entire sample period. In addition, we uncover a significantly negative relationship between mean inflation and inflation inequality across households.

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File URL: http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/papers/2009/wp09-19bk.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2009-19.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2009-19
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  1. Bart Hobijn & David Lagakos, 2003. "Inflation inequality in the United States," Staff Reports 173, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Hamilton, Bruce W., 2001. "Black-White Differences in Inflation: 1974-1991," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 77-96, July.
  3. Pollak, Robert A, 1980. "Group Cost-of-Living Indexes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 273-78, May.
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