Hazel Kyrk (1886-1957) and the Research on Consumption Standards
AbstractHazel Kyrk, author of A Theory of Consumption (1923), conducted ground-breaking research for the
Bureau of Home Economics of the US Department of Agriculture, making a considerable contribution to a large empirical survey of household expenditures (Kyrk, Hazel, Monroe, Day, Brady, Dorothy S., Rosenstiel, Colette, and Rainboth, Edith Dyer (1941). Family Expenditures for Housing and Household Operations. Five Regions. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture). Kyrk et al. (1941) developed standards for what could be considered as the minimum requirements for a “decent living” (van Velzen, 2003). This research provided the base-year prices for the official consumer price index (Lobdell, 2000). This paper outlines this aspect of Hazel Kyrk’s research, her role in the constitution of the Consumer Price Index, and reflects on her theoretical and methodological approach.