Over the past several years the BLS has released numerous documents presenting its
views on the measurement issues involved in production of the CPI. Among the most
important of these documents are2:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Anatomy of Price Change,"
reprint from the Monthly Labor Review, vol. 116, December 1993. This issue of
the Monthly Labor Review was dedicated to a series of articles on CPI
Abraham, Katharine G., "Testimony before the Senate Finance
Committee, U.S. Congress," March 13, 1995. This testimony describes the CPI, how it
is constructed, and its relationship to a cost-of-living index.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Report from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics for the House Budget Committee, U.S. Congress," April 28, 1995. This
report addresses questions concerning the relationship between the CPI and a
cost-of-living measure, potential biases in the CPI, and BLS research into potential
solutions to these problems.
Moulton, Brent R., "Bias in the Consumer Price Index: What is the
Evidence?" Journal of Economic Perspectives 10(4): 159-77, 1996. This
article summarizes and comments on several estimates of bias in the CPI.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "1998 CPI Revision," reprint
from the Monthly Labor Review, vol. 119, December 1996.. This issue of the Monthly
Labor Review was dedicated to a series of articles on the 1998 CPI Revision.
Abraham, Katharine G., "Testimony before the Subcommittee on Human
Resources, House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, U.S. Congress" April
30, 1997. This testimony summarizes the actions the Bureau has taken and will be taking to
improve the accuracy of the Consumer Price Index.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Measurement Issues in the
Consumer Price Index," response prepared for Jim Saxton, Chairman of the Joint
Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, June 1997. This was the Bureaus most
comprehensive response to date to the recommendations made by the Advisory Commission to
Study the CPI.
Abraham, Katharine G., John S. Greenlees, and Brent R. Moulton,
"Working to Improve the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic
Perspectives, vol.12, No. 1, Winter 1998, pp. 27-36. This paper comments on the
Advisory Commissions report and summarizes recent and planned improvements in the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, response prepared for Christopher
Shays, Chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Government Reform and
Oversight Committee, U.S. Congress, March 31, 1998. This letter describes improvements in
the CPI between April 1997 and March 1998, as well as future CPI improvement plans.
The remaining sections of this paper present the recommendations of the Boskin
Commission along with the BLS responses. The responses are based on the 1997 paper
prepared for Representative Saxton, updated and expanded where appropriate.