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Whose Inflation? A Characterization of the CPI Plutocratic Gap

Eduardo Ley

Public Economics from University Library of Munich, Germany

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 analytically decompose the difference between the standard CPI and a democratically weighted index (ie, the CPI plutocratic-democratic gap) as the product of expenditure inequality and the sample covariance between the elementary individual price indexes and a parameter 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-democratic gap, and also to discuss issues pertaining to group indexes.

Keywords: Consumer price index; plutocratic index; democratic index; group index; aggregation; equivalence scales; inflation. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C43 D31 D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 12 pages
Date: 2001-10-05, Revised 2005-03-14
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mon
Note: Forthcoming in Oxford Economic Papers. Type of Document - PDF; prepared on MacOSX - CMac; to print on any printer; pages: 12; figures: none
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