BOFIT Discussion Papers, Institute for Economies in Transition, Bank of Finland
Biases in cross-space comparisons through cross-time price indexes: The case of Russia
Abstract: Lacking data on price levels across locations (countries,
national regions, etc.) for cross-space comparisons, researchers resort to
local consumer price indexes (CPIs) over time to evaluate these levels.
This approach unfortunately fails to specify, even generally, the exactness
of such proxies. Worse, the method is silent on whether the results are
consistent, at least qualitatively, with those obtained using actual price
levels. This paper aims to find an answer empirically, using data across
Russian regions. Through comparison of CPI-proxied price levels with direct
evaluations of regional price levels (i.e. Surinov spatial price indexes
and the costs of a purchasing power basket), biases that distort the
qualitative pattern of inter-regional differences are identified.
Cross-region distributions for real income (calculated with CPI-proxied and
directly evaluated price levels) for several points in time are estimated
and compared. The CPI-induced biases are found to generally overstate
Keywords: consumer price index; spatial price index; real income; nonhomothetic prefer-ences; Russia; Russian regions; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: C43; E31; P22; R19; (follow links to similar papers)
53 pages, August 18, 2006
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