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The use of robust estimators as measures of core inflation

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  • Luc Aucremanne

    () (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

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

  • Luc Aucremanne, 2000. "The use of robust estimators as measures of core inflation," Working Paper Research 02, National Bank of Belgium.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:200003-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Rodney L. Wiggins, 1997. "Efficient inflation estimation," Working Paper 9707, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. Meyler, Aidan, 1999. "A statistical measure of core inflation," MPRA Paper 11362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. Scott Roger, 1998. "Core inflation: concepts, uses and measurement," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G98/9, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    5. Jonathan Kearns, 1998. "The Distribution and Measurement of Inflation," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9810, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    6. Oosterhoff, J., 1994. "Trimmed mean or sample median?," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 401-409, August.
    7. Mio, Hitoshi & Higo, Masahiro, 1999. "Underlying Inflation and the Distribution of Price Change: Evidence from the Japanese Trimmed-Mean CPI," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 17(1), pages 103-132, May.
    8. Scott Roger, 1997. "A robust measure of core inflation in New Zealand, 1949-96," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G97/7, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    9. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 161-193.
    10. 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.
    11. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1994. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy, pages 195-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501.
    13. Scott Roger, 1998. "Core Inflation: Concepts, Uses and Measurement," Occasional Papers, South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training Centre, number occ24, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Juan-Luis Vega & Mark A. Wynne, 2003. "A First Assessment of Some Measures of Core Inflation for the Euro Area," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4, pages 269-306, August.
    2. Luc Aucremanne & Emmanuel Dhyne, 2004. "How frequently do prices change? Evidence based on the micro data underlying the Belgian CPI," Working Paper Research 44, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. 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.
    4. A. Nazif Çatik & A. Özlem Önder, 2011. "Inflationary Effects of Oil Prices in Turkey: A Regime-Switching Approach," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(5), pages 125-140, September.
    5. Luc Aucremanne & Guy Brys & Peter J Rousseeuw & Anja Struyf & Mia Hubert, 2003. "Inflation, relative prices and nominal rigidities," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Monetary policy in a changing environment, volume 19, pages 81-105 Bank for International Settlements.
    6. 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.
    7. Luc Aucremanne & Emmanuel Dhyne, 2004. "How frequently do prices change? Evidence based on the micro data underlying the Belgian CPI," Working Paper Research 44, National Bank of Belgium.
    8. A. Nazif Çatik & A. Özlem Önder, 2011. "Inflationary Effects of Oil Prices in Turkey: A Regime-Switching Approach," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 47(5), pages 125-140, September.

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