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At What Price?: Conceptualizing and Measuring Cost-of-Living by National Research Council, Division of Behavioral and Social

By National Research Council, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Committee on National Statistics, Measurement, and Other Statistical Issues in Developing Cost-of-Living Inde

How good does the shopper expense index (CPI) replicate the alterations that individuals really face in dwelling bills - from apples to pcs to health and wellbeing care? Given the way it is used, is it fascinating to build the CPI as a cost-of-living index (COLI)? With what point of accuracy is it attainable to build a unmarried index that represents adjustments within the residing charges of the nation's diversified inhabitants? "At What Price?" examines the rules for customer rate indexes, evaluating the conceptual and functional strengths, weaknesses, and boundaries of conventional "fixed basket" and COLI approaches.The e-book delves right into a variety of complicated concerns, from tips on how to care for the altering caliber of products and providers, together with difficult-to-define clinical providers, to easy methods to weight the expenditure styles of other shoppers. It kinds in the course of the key attributes and underlying assumptions that outline every one index style which will resolution the query: may still a COLI framework be utilized in developing the U.S. CPI? In answering this question, the booklet makes concepts as to how the Bureau of work data can proceed to enhance the accuracy and relevance of the CPI. With conclusions that can have an effect on the volume of your subsequent pay elevate, "At What Price?" is critical to each person, and a must-read for coverage makers, researchers, and employers.

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Additional info for At What Price?: Conceptualizing and Measuring Cost-of-Living and Price Indexes

Example text

And, in a world in which consumer tastes change and the qualities of many goods and services are constantly being altered, measuring either type of index is a difficult task. 4 As its name implies, it seeks to measure changes in the cost of goods. In principle, for a COGI, specification of the basket of goods may be based on a past period’s consumption patterns or current patterns, or even a point in between. A COLI, as noted above, seeks to measure the percentage change in expenditures needed to maintain a household’s standard of living at some specified level (typically, but not necessarily, the level it had in the reference period).

For instance, for three decades the BLS has estimated quality adjustments for the annual model changeover in motor vehicles using the cost-based method. The INTRODUCTION 29 BLS collects manufacturers’ estimates of the cost increases incurred in adding or changing observable features in the new model. On the assumption that those costs are reflected in reported motor vehicle prices, the prices are adjusted downward to reflect the quality improvements associated with the changed characteristics. , adding cruise control as a standard feature, but also to more subtle changes, such as the introduction of more corrosion-resistant metals on exposed surfaces.

But no effort is made to estimate a “price” for truly public goods and services, such as national defense or the administration of justice. The adoption of a cost-of-living approach to index construction, however, raises a number of questions about what the index ought to cover beyond what is currently included in the CPI since, in addition to the purchase of private goods and services, a large number of economic, social, and environmental factors clearly have an effect on the standard of living and therefore on the cost of living.

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