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


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Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living

Article Citation

Boskin, Michael J. 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(1): 3-26.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.3


After presenting major findings and recommendations, the CPI Commission reiterates the estimate of a 1.1 percentage point per annum upward bias. It rejects the contention that the BLS already makes substantial corrections for quality change; that quality improvements and new products accrue only to the rich; and that procedures to make more extensive quality adjustments, valuations of new products, and adjustments for commodity and outlet substitution are impractical. The bias in the CPI can be sharply reduced, as the authors detail in this paper. Coauthors are Ellen R. Dulberger, Robert J. Gordon, Zvi Griliches, and Dale W. Jorgenson.

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Boskin, Michael J. (Stanford U)

JEL Classifications

E31: Price Level; Inflation; Deflation


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