# Whose inflation? A characterization of the CPI plutocratic gap

*Eduardo Ley*

*Oxford Economic Papers*, 2005, vol. 57, issue 4, 634-646

**Abstract:**
Prais (1958) showed that the standard CPI computed by most statistical agencies can be interpreted as a weighted average of household price indexes, where the weight of each household is determined by its total expenditures. In this paper, we decompose the CPI plutocratic gap--i.e. the difference between the standard CPI and a democratically-weighted index, where each household has the same weight--as the product of expenditure inequality and the sample covariance between the elementary individual price indexes and a term which is a function of the expenditure elasticity of each good. This decomposition allows us to interpret variations in the size and sign of the plutocratic gap, and to discuss issues pertaining to group indexes. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

**Date:** 2005

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