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Designing Indexed Units of Account

  • Robert J. Shiller

An indexed unit of account is a unit of measurement defined using an index such as a consumer price index so that prices defined in terms of these units will automatically adjust to changing economic conditions. Evidence on sticky prices and money illusion, and evidence from countries (notably Chile) that have created indexed units of account, suggests that creating such units is an important policy option for governments in countries with unstable price levels. A model is given that shows the dynamics of money prices when prices are expressed in the units. Results from the model suggest some design elements for an indexed unit of account: institutions to promote broad use of the unit for pricing, and a formal policy to increase the frequency of index computation when the price level becomes more volatile.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7160.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7160.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Publication status: published as Klein, Lawrence R. (ed.) Long-Run Growth and Short-Run Stabilization: Essays in Memory of Albert Ando. Cheltenham, U.K. and Northampton, MA: Elgar, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7160
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Shiller, Robert J & Schneider, Ryan, 1998. "Labor Income Indices Designed for Use in Contracts Promoting Income Risk Management," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(2), pages 163-82, June.
  2. Robert J. Shiller, 2002. "Indexed Units of Account: Theory and Assessment of Historical Experience," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Fernando Lefort & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Serie (ed.), Indexation, Inflation and Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 105-134 Central Bank of Chile.
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  9. Robert E. Hall, 1982. "Explorations in the Gold Standard and Related Policies for Stabilizing the Dollar," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 111-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
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