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The Role of the Unit of Analysis in Tax Policy Reform Evaluations

  • Lei Lei Song

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

Many central banks often focus on underlying measures of inflation when assessing inflation trends. This paper compares the accuracy of underlying measures of inflation relative to the headline rates by using Australian data. It is found that the underlying measures did have smaller errors in predicting the long-term trend in inflation than the quarterly headline rate in the sample period 1977—2001 and the inflation targeting subperiod starting from 1993, due to the large volatility of the headline rate. As compared to the year-ended headline rate, the statistical test results , however, support only the measure of market prices excluding volatile items, not the others. There is some weak evidence of the weighted median measure outperforming the headline rate in the subperiod after 1993. With respect to directional accuracy, the test statistics cannot reject the null hypothesis of an equal probability correctly predicting the moving direction of the inflation trend, though the headline rates have a higher probability.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2003n29.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2003n29
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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  1. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1993. "The consumer price index as a measure of inflation," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q IV, pages 15-24.
  2. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Erica L. Groshen, 2000. "Understanding Inflation: Implications for Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 7482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert Dixon & G.C. Lim, 2004. "Underlying Inflation in Australia: Are the Existing Measures Satisfactory?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(251), pages 373-386, December.
  4. Le Bihan, Herve & Sedillot, Franck, 2000. "Do core inflation measures help forecast inflation?: Out-of-sample evidence from French data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 261-266, December.
  5. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1997. "Measuring short-run inflation for central bankers," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 143-155.
  6. Quah, Danny & Vahey, Shaun P, 1995. "Measuring Core Inflation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1130-44, September.
  7. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Wynne, Mark A., 1999. "Core inflation: a review of some conceptual issues," Working Paper Series 0005, European Central Bank.
  9. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
  10. Freeman, Donald G., 1998. "Do core inflation measures help forecast inflation?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 143-147, February.
  11. Boskin, Michael J, et al, 1997. "The CPI Commission: Findings and Recommendations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 78-83, May.
  12. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Forecasting Inflation," NBER Working Papers 7023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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