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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 1 (Winter 1998)


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The Consumer Price Index: A Research Agenda and Three Proposals

Article Citation

Pollak, Robert A. 1998. "The Consumer Price Index: A Research Agenda and Three Proposals." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(1): 69-78.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.69


This paper argues that dealing with current concerns about the CPI within the framework of economic theory requires developing the theory of the cost-of-living index under more general assumptions than have thus far been standard. It examines three neglected but critical issues that should rank high on the research agenda because of their practical implications for index number construction: Whose cost-of-living index? Why shop? and What is a good? It concludes by discussing the intersection between the technical problems of constructing the CPI and the political problems of indexing taxes and transfers.

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Pollak, Robert A. (Washington U)

JEL Classifications

E31: Price Level; Inflation; Deflation


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