Read e-book online Study Guide for Microeconomics: Theory and Applications with PDF

By Jeffrey M. Perloff

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For some new goods, however, producers follow a different strategy, introducing the new good at a low price in order to promote high initial sales and make the good more widely known to consumers. In this case, as the market expands, the price rises. , cell phones—is incorporated into the index only after a long delay, the period of falling prices will be missed and the overall price index will be biased upward. If, in contrast, the new good is incorporated into a fixed-weight index not long after its introduction, the index will reflect most of the decline that occurs early in its price cycle.

But, as explained above, the BLS collects data on price changes for individual items not from households but from retail stores and other sellers. There is no link between the prices of individual items and the economic and demographic characteristics of the consumers who bought them. As a consequence, the current collection system cannot produce the data needed to answer the questions posed above. CHANGES IN THE QUALITY OF GOODS Ideally, both a COGI and a COLI ought to be based on changes in the prices of “constant-quality” goods.

As a consequence, indexing wages, social security benefits, or other payments scaled to the CPI would usually overstate the amount needed to compensate for increases in the cost of living. Forty years ago, the Stigler Committee outlined the conceptual and measurement characteristics of the CPI that distinguished it from a “true cost-of-living index”—or, under alternative committee labels, a “welfare index,” or a “constant utility” index (National Bureau of Economic Research, 1961). The principal recommendation of the committee was the establishment of a long-run research program designed to make the CPI a better approximation to a cost-ofliving index.

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