How to Measure Changes in the Cost of Living

Self-Check Questions

How to Measure Changes in the Cost of Living introduced a number of different price indices. Which price index would be best to use to adjust your paycheck for inflation?


Since the CPI measures the prices of the goods and services purchased by the typical urban consumer, it measures the prices of things that people buy with their paycheck. For that reason, the CPI would be the best price index to use for this purpose.

The Consumer Price Index is subject to the substitution bias and the quality/new goods bias. Are the Producer Price Index and the GDP Deflator also subject to these biases? Why or why not?


The PPI is subject to those biases for essentially the same reasons as the CPI is. The GDP deflator picks up prices of what is actually purchased that year, so there are no biases. That is the advantage of using the GDP deflator over the CPI.