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The usefulness of core PCE inflation measures

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  • Alan K. Detmeister

Abstract

This paper examines a number of alternative PCE price inflation measures including overall PCE inflation, PCE inflation excluding food and energy, trimmed mean PCE inflation, component-smoothed inflation, variance-weighted inflation, inflation with weights based on disaggregated regressions, and survey measures of inflation expectations. When averaging across a handful of specifications based on the primary uses of a core inflation measure three conclusions arise: 1. Inflation rates for nearly all the measures best track ex-post trend inflation or predict future overall inflation when they are averaged over a considerable number of months. Overall PCE price inflation should be averaged over 18 months or longer. A shorter averaging period is appropriate for core measures, often on the order of 12 months. 2. Even after appropriately averaging each index, core inflation indexes generally perform better than overall inflation. 3. Exclusion indexes, such as PCE excluding food and energy, perform slightly worse than many other possible core inflation measures; trimmed mean PCE, or a variance-weighted index, may be better choice for a summary inflation measure.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan K. Detmeister, 2011. "The usefulness of core PCE inflation measures," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-56
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Verbrugge, Randal & Higgins, Amy, 2015. "Tracking Trend Inflation: Nonseasonally Adjusted Variants of the Median and Trimmed-Mean CPI," Working Paper 1527, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. Liu, Dandan & Smith, Julie K., 2014. "Inflation forecasts and core inflation measures: Where is the information on future inflation?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 133-137.
    3. Yellen, Janet L., 2015. "Inflation Dynamics and Monetary Policy : A speech at the Philip Gamble Memorial Lecture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, September 24, 2015," Speech 863, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Brent Meyer & Guhan Venkatu, 2012. "Trimmed-mean inflation statistics: just hit the one in the middle," Working Paper 1217, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised 01 Feb 2014.
    5. Faust, Jon & Wright, Jonathan H., 2013. "Forecasting Inflation," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
    6. Brent Meyer & Saeed Zaman, 2013. "It’s not just for inflation: The usefulness of the median CPI in BVAR forecasting," Working Paper 1303, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    7. Edward N. Gamber & Julie K. Smith, 2016. "Time-series measures of core inflation," Working Papers 2016-008, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    8. Meyer, Brent & Zaman, Saeed, 2016. "The Usefulness of the Median CPI in Bayesian VARs Used for Macroeconomic Forecasting and Policy," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2016-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    9. Alan K. Detmeister, 2012. "What should core inflation exclude?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Gamber, Edward N. & Smith, Julie K. & Eftimoiu, Raluca, 2015. "The dynamic relationship between core and headline inflation," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 38-53.

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    Keywords

    Inflation (Finance) - Mathematical models;

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