How to defi ne the Consumer Perceived Price Index? The case of Poland
Inflation perceived by consumers may differ from official statistics particularly due to different baskets of goods and services lay people and statisticians consider and by consumer loss aversion to price increases. Such effects, as suggested by the Prospect Theory, are confirmed in many empirical studies, showing that consumers are substantially influenced by prices of frequent purchases and that price increases are perceived more strongly than price decreases. Following those observations, particularly useful in interpreting a jump of inflation perception in some of the EMU economies after the euro introduction, an alternative price index, i.e. the Index of Perceived Inflation, was proposed by Brachinger (2006) and Brachinger (2008). The role of price changes of frequently bought goods and services in determining consumer opinions on price changes was also significant in Poland, especially after its accession to the EU. To assess whether this effect is of a systematic nature, in this paper we develop different indices of price changes of frequently bought goods and services in Poland, including the Index of Perceived Inflation. Then we evaluate these indices vs. CPI inflation in terms of their impact on consumer inflation perception, as proxied with survey data. The results suggest that Polish consumers observe a relatively wide range of goods and services and that both factors suggested by the Prospect Theory seem to influence their opinions on evolution of prices in the past. Having the measure of perceived inflation – i.e. the Consumer Perceived Price Index (CPPI) – that seems more adequate than current CPI inflation on the one hand and survey-based measures of perceived inflation scaled with respect to the trend of CPI inflation on the other hand, we use it as a scaling factor to derive a probability measure of consumer inflation expectations in Poland. Then we compare forecasting accuracy of this measure with respective results based on the measure of consumer inflation expectations quantified in a standard manner.
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