Addressing the Quality Change Issue in the Consumer Price Index

Moulton, Brent R.; Moses, Karin E.
January 1997
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity;1997, Issue 1, p305
Academic Journal
This article examines the quality adjustments that occur when Consumer Price Index sample items change or need to be replaced because of sample attrition. After an item has been replaced, a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics commodity analyst examines the descriptions of the old and new versions of the item to determine which quality adjustment procedure is to be applied. These methods were developed to be applied in an environment in which 80,000 sample prices are collected and processed each month, of which roughly 4 percent represent item replacements. These item replacements are much more important than may be suggested by the 4 percent monthly attrition rate, however.


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