The Boskin Commission Report and its Aftermath

Robert J. Gordon

NBER Working Paper No. 7759
Issued in June 2000
NBER Program(s):Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, Economic Fluctuations and Growth

This paper briefly summarizes the analysis and findings of the 1996 Boskin Commission Report, Toward a More Accurate Measure of the Cost of Living. It then reviews the comments and criticisms that appeared soon after the Report was issued and provides responses to the more important criticisms. Changes in the CPI, both those that were planned before the Report and those that were in part a response to its recommendations, are summarized and assessed. The paper concludes with a summary of recent research on quality change and comments on the current status of the CPI and of price measurement research. Including those improvements that the BLS has announced for implementation in 2000-2002, the paper estimates that the current upward bias in the CPI is in the range of 0.65 percent, down from the 1.1 percent that the Report estimated applied to the period 1995-96.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7759

Published: Gordon, Robert-J, 1999. "The Boskin Commission Report and Its Aftermath," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 17(3), pages 41-68, December.

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