Journal of Economic and Social Measurement - Volume 27, issue 3-4
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ISSN 0747-9662 (P)
ISSN 1875-8932 (E)
The Journal of Economic and Social Measurement (JESM) is a quarterly journal that is concerned with the investigation of all aspects of production, distribution and use of economic and other societal statistical data, and with the use of computers in that context. JESM publishes articles that consider the statistical methodology of economic and social science measurements. It is concerned with the methods and problems of data distribution, including the design and implementation of data base systems and, more generally, computer software and hardware for distributing and accessing statistical data files. Its focus on computer software also includes the valuation of algorithms and their implementation, assessing the degree to which particular algorithms may yield more or less accurate computed results. It addresses the technical and even legal problems of the collection and use of data, legislation and administrative actions affecting government produced or distributed data files, and similar topics.
The journal serves as a forum for the exchange of information and views between data producers and users. In addition, it considers the various uses to which statistical data may be put, particularly to the degree that these uses illustrate or affect the properties of the data. The data considered in JESM are usually economic or social, as mentioned, but this is not a requirement; the editorial policies of JESM do not place a priori restrictions upon the data that might be considered within individual articles. Furthermore, there are no limitations concerning the source of the data.
Abstract: This article deals with the interpretation of elementary and aggregate quantity and real value indices. Real value indices are defined as the product of quantity and real price indices. In national accounts, deflated (constant prices) values are measures of quantities…and, consequently, their widespread interpretation as real values is criticized. Aggregate indices of quantities based on modern index number theory are measures that involve real prices and are interpreted here as real value indices. Their interpretation as "volume" indices is criticized. Real values of distinct commodities are always trivially additive similarly to nominal values while quantities of these commodities never are except under restrictive assumptions. The paper argues, furthermore, that additivity is a somewhat irrelevant issue in economics. Finally, real shares are shown to be equal to nominal shares and, accordingly, the habit of using constant prices shares is also criticized.
Abstract: The paper considers the use of a Consumer Price Index (CPI) for three possible purposes: (1) as a Cost of Living Index (COLI); i.e., as a measure of the relative cost of achieving the standard of living when facing two different sets…of prices for the same group of commodities; (2) as a consumption deflator; i.e., the price change component for a decomposition of a value ratio into price and quantity components and (3) as a measure of general inflation. The theoretical concepts suitable for the first two purposes are laid out and the problems involved in finding practical approximations to the unobservable theoretical constructs are discussed. The concept of a conditional cost of living index is also discussed; this type of index holds constant various environmental factors. The problems involved in aggregating over groups of consumers are also discussed. Finally, the differences between the harmonized index of consumer prices used in the European Union to measure general inflation and a COLI are discussed.
Keywords: inflation, index numbers, superlative indexes, consumer price indexes, cost of living indexes, deflation, harmonized indexes of consumer prices, pure price indexes, conditional cost of living indexes, aggregation over households