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Owner Occupied Housing in the CPI and its Impact on Monetary Policy during Housing Booms and Busts

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  • Hill, Robert J.
  • Steurer, Miriam
  • Waltl, Sofie R.

Abstract

The treatment of owner-occupied housing (OOH) is probably the most important unresolved issue in inflation measurement. How -- and whether -- it is included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) affects inflation expectations, the measured level of real interest rates, and the behavior of governments, central banks and market participants. We show that none of the existing treatments of OOH are fit for purpose. Hence we propose a new simplified user cost method with better properties. Using a micro-level dataset, we then compare the empirical behavior of eight different treatments of OOH. Our preferred user cost approach pushes up the CPI during housing booms (by 2 percentage points or more). Our findings relate to the following important debates in macroeconomics: the behavior of the Phillips curve in the US during the global financial crisis, and the response of monetary policy to housing booms, secular stagnation, and globalization.

Suggested Citation

  • Hill, Robert J. & Steurer, Miriam & Waltl, Sofie R., 2019. "Owner Occupied Housing in the CPI and its Impact on Monetary Policy during Housing Booms and Busts," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 285, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wus005:7039
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    Cited by:

    1. Allen-Coughlan, Matthew & Coffey, Cathal & Martinez-Cillero, Maria & Kostarakos, Ilias & McQuinn, Kieran & O’Toole, Conor, 2020. "Estimating the cost of Irish housing for the CPI: A rental equivalence approach," Papers WP676, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. W. Erwin Diewert & Kiyohiko G. Nishimura & Chihiro Shimizu & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2020. "Measuring the Services of Durables and Owner Occupied Housing," Advances in Japanese Business and Economics, in: Property Price Index, chapter 0, pages 223-298, Springer.
    3. Ahrens, Achim & Beirne, Keelan & Economides, Philip & Kostarakos, Ilias & McQuinn, Kieran & O'Toole, Conor, 2020. "A review of the methodologies used in compiling owner-occupiers’ housing indices," Papers WP651, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Measurement of inflation; Owner occupied housing; User cost; Rental equivalence; Quantile regression; Hedonic imputation; Housing booms and busts; Inflation targeting; Leaning against the wind; Phillips curve; Disinflation puzzle; Secular stagnation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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