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Whose Inflation? A Characterization of the CPI Plutocratic Gap

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  • Eduardo Ley

    (IMF)

Abstract

Prais (1958) showed that the standard CPI computed by most statistical agencies can be interpreted as a weighted average of household price indexes, where the weight of each household is determined by its total expenditures. In this paper, we analytically decompose the difference between the standard CPI and a democratically weighted index (ie, the CPI plutocratic-democratic gap) as the product of expenditure inequality and the sample covariance between the elementary individual price indexes and a parameter which is a function of the expenditure elasticity of each good. This decomposition allows us to interpret variations in the size and sign of the plutocratic-democratic gap, and also to discuss issues pertaining to group indexes.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Ley, 2001. "Whose Inflation? A Characterization of the CPI Plutocratic Gap," Public Economics 0110001, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Mar 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0110001
    Note: Forthcoming in Oxford Economic Papers. Type of Document - PDF; prepared on MacOSX - CMac; to print on any printer; pages: 12; figures: none
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jorgenson, Dale W & Slesnick, Daniel T, 1999. "Indexing Government Programs for Changes in the Cost of Living," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(2), pages 170-181, April.
    2. Pollak, Robert A, 1980. "Group Cost-of-Living Indexes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 273-278, May.
    3. Frank A Cowell, 2006. "Inequality: Measurement," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 86, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    4. Angus Deaton, 1998. "Getting Prices Right: What Should Be Done?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 37-46, Winter.
    5. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1996. "On Using Linear Regressions in Welfare Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(4), pages 478-486, October.
    6. Newbery, David M, 1995. "The Distributional Impact of Price Changes in Hungary and the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 847-863, July.
    7. Mario Izquierdo & Eduardo Ley & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2003. "The Plutocratic Gap in the CPI: Evidence from Spain," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(1), pages 1-7.
    8. S. Nuri Erbas & Chera L. Sayers, 1998. "Is the United States CPI Biased Across Income and Age Groups?," IMF Working Papers 98/136, International Monetary Fund.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Goni, Edwin & Lopez, Humberto & Serven, Luis, 2006. "Getting realabout inequality : evidence from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3815, The World Bank.
    2. Ehrmann, Michael & Tzamourani, Panagiota, 2012. "Memories of high inflation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 174-191.
    3. Chamon, Marcos & de Carvalho Filho, Irineu, 2014. "Consumption based estimates of urban Chinese growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 126-137.
    4. Dilip M. Nachane & Aditi Chaubal, 2017. "The Plutocratic Bias in the Indian CPI," Working Papers id:12106, eSocialSciences.
    5. Morné Oosthuizen, 2007. "Consumer Price Inflation across the Income Distribution in South Africa," Working Papers 07129, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    6. Carlos Guerrero de Lizardi, 2010. "Alternative Consumer Price Indexes for Mexico," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    7. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2002:i:3:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Morne Oosthuizen, 2013. "Inflation Inequality In South Africa," Working Papers 13158, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    9. Thomas F. Crossley & Krishna Pendakur, 2006. "The Social Cost-of-Living: Welfare Foundations and Estimation," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 407, McMaster University.
    10. David Fielding, 2010. "Non-monetary Determinants of Inflation Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(1), pages 111-139, January.
    11. Liberati, Paolo, 2012. "Democratic, Plutocratic and Social Weights in Price Indexes," MPRA Paper 43978, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer price index; plutocratic index; democratic index; group index; aggregation; equivalence scales; inflation.;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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