Search results for: Cost of living
World Economics, March 2011
Price indexes are the most important of all economic indicators simply because they are the tool used to calculate the real size, speed and direction of all forms of economic activity. Price indexes are compiled almost everywhere, but with major differences in method and sampling procedures. Some methods and procedures have led to significant errors. Even in the case of a country as advanced as Japan, critics have calculated that imperfections in method have led to a rate of price inflation around 1.8% per year above the level a true cost of living index would have shown. Further research undertaken by World Economics has attempted to make estimates for changes in discounting and promotional practices at the retail level. The conclusion is that, in reality, the overestimation of price changes by the Japanese CPI in recent years may well have been in excess of 2% per annum, and could have been significantly more. Different CPI assumptions change economic growth estimates dramatically. Using World Economics estimates, adding in a minimum figure for marketing and retail changes seen in recent years suggests, contrary to official data, that Japanese consumption growth exceeded that of the US.
Ralph Turvey, World Economics, September 2004
A monthly consumer price index traces changes in the monthly cost of a year’s
consumption using a sample of prices. But in some months the prices that can be
sampled will temporarily exclude some of the products that were bought in the
base year, Christmas trees providing a textbook example. Worse still, it becomes
permanently impossible to observe prices for sampled products that have been
completely superseded. There are methods for dealing with these two problems,
but they leave serious and irremediable defects in the index.
Mick Silver, World Economics, March 2003
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is one of the UK’s most important macroeconomic
indicators, as well as being used for indexation/adjustments for inflation
to wages and benefits. This paper argues that the dynamic changes in product
markets and consumers’ responses to price changes need to be incorporated into
the RPI if it is to effectively measure changes in the cost of living. The quite
positive and innovative work undertaken by the Office for National Statistics
(ONS) is acknowledged. However, the basis of the RPI, in measuring the price
changes of a matched, fixed basket of goods, is considered inappropriate to
modern markets. Some proposals are made.
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