What is the job of a consumer price index?
turning dollar figures into meaningful measures of purchasing power
When the consumer price index rises...
the typical family has to spend more money to maintain the same standard of living
Consumer price index is a more common gauge of inflation because...
it better reflects the goods and services bought by customers
What is the definition of CPI?
a measure of the overall cost of the goods and services bought by a typical consumer
Who computes and reports the CPI, and how often do they do it?
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of the Department of Labor
What are the five steps of calculating CPI?
1) Fix the basket (which product has more weight?)
2) Find the prices at each year
3) Compute the basket's cost at each year
4) Choose a base year and compute the index
5) Compute the inflation rate
Why are changes in the PPI often thought to be useful in predicting changes in the CPI?
Because firms eventually pass on their costs to consumers in the form of higher consumer prices
Because CPI is based on a fixed basket of goods and services, three problems arise
substitution bias, introduction of new goods, and unmeasured quality change
when prices change from one year to the next, they do not change proportionately; consumers substitute toward goods that have become relatively less expensive (BLS uses a fixed basket, fixed quantities even when prices change)
introduction of new goods
when a new good is introduced, consumers have more variety from which to choose, and this in turn reduces the cost of maintaining the same level of economic well-being, making each dollar more valuable
unmeasured quality change
when a product increases or decreases in quality, price stays the same, dollar value changes
Explain the Volvo and airplane examples
Volvo - not in GDP because foreign produced, but in consumers basket
Airplanes - in GDP, but not in consumers basket because we don't buy the airplane
Explain the oil example
Much of the oil is imported, so does not impact our country's GDP much, but impacts consumer basket because we buy a lot of it
What is the equation for turning dollar figures from year T into today's dollars?
Amount in year T dollars x (price level today/price level in year T)
Price indexes are used to correct for the effects of ______ when comparing dollar figures from different times
the automatic correction by law or contract of a dollar amount for the effects of inflation
nominal interest rate
interest rate as usually reported without a correction for the effects of inflation
What does the nominal interest rate tell you?
how fast the number of dollars in your bank account rises over time