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Implications of rounding and rebasing for empirical analysis using consumer price inflation

  • Sharon Kozicki
  • Barak Hoffman

Monthly CPI inflation rates can be spuriously choppy when constructed using the official CPI, rebased with 1982-84=100. The problem can be traced to rounding that occurs when only one digit after the decimal place is reported in rebased CPI data. This paper compares three CPI measures to illustrate how rounding and rebasing introduce distortions that affect variance properties, alter lag specification in autoregressive models, and "flip" results of unit root tests. To reduce distortions, the paper recommends using either original release data or the CPI rebased with 1967=100.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number 99-08.

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Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:99-08
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  1. John E. Golob, 1994. "Does inflation uncertainty increase with inflation?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 27-38.
  2. Laurence Ball & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1990. "Inflation and Uncertainty at Long and Short Horizons," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 215-254.
  3. Davis, George & Kanago, Bryce, 1998. "High and Uncertain Inflation: Results from a New Data Set," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 218-30, May.
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  9. Kim, Chang-Jin, 1993. "Unobserved-Component Time Series Models with Markov-Switching Heteroscedasticity: Changes in Regime and the Link between Inflation Rates and Inflation Uncertainty," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(3), pages 341-49, July.
  10. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  11. King, Robert G. & Watson, Mark W., 1994. "The post-war U.S. phillips curve: a revisionist econometric history," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 157-219, December.
  12. Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1979. "A Simple Test for Heteroscedasticity and Random Coefficient Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1287-94, September.
  13. A. Steven Holland, 1984. "Does higher inflation lead to more uncertain inflation?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Feb, pages 15-26.
  14. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-72, June.
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  16. Brunner, Allan D & Hess, Gregory D, 1993. "Are Higher Levels of Inflation Less Predictable? A State-Dependent Conditional Heteroscedasticity Approach," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(2), pages 187-97, April.
  17. Evans, Martin, 1991. "Discovering the Link between Inflation Rates and Inflation Uncertainty," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 169-84, May.
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