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Life Cycle Price Trends and Product Replacement: Implications for the Measurement of Inflation

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel Melser

    ()

    (Moody's Analytics)

  • Iqbal A. Syed

    ()

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)

The paper explores the extent to which products follow systematic pricing patterns over their life cycle and the impact this has on the measurement of inflation. Using a large US scanner data set on supermarket products and applying flexible regression methods, we find that on average prices decline as items age. This life cycle price change is often attributed to quality difference in the construction of CPI as items are replaced due to disappearance or during sample rotations. This introduces a systematic bias in the measurement of inflation. For our data we find that the life cycle bias leads to the underestimation of inflation by around 0.30 percentage points each year for the products examined.

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File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2014-40.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, The University of New South Wales in its series Discussion Papers with number 2014-40.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2014
Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2014-40
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Web page: http://www.economics.unsw.edu.au/
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  1. Robert J. Hill & Daniel Melser, 2008. "Hedonic Imputation And The Price Index Problem: An Application To Housing," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 593-609, October.
  2. Silver, Mick & Heravi, Saeed, 2005. "A Failure in the Measurement of Inflation: Results From a Hedonic and Matched Experiment Using Scanner Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 23, pages 269-281, July.
  3. Erwin Diewert, 2005. "Weighted Country Product Dummy Variable Regressions And Index Number Formulae," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(4), pages 561-570, December.
  4. Ariel Pakes, 2003. "A Reconsideration of Hedonic Price Indexes with an Application to PC's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1578-1596, December.
  5. Kevin J. Fox & Daniel Melser, 2014. "Non-Linear Pricing and Price Indexes: Evidence and Implications from Scanner Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(2), pages 261-278, June.
  6. Ernst R. Berndt & Margaret Kyle & Davina Ling, 2003. "The Long Shadow of Patent Expiration. Generic Entry and Rx-to-OTC Switches," NBER Chapters,in: Scanner Data and Price Indexes, pages 229-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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