ASSESSING THE VALUE OF ECONOMICS RESEARCH: THE CASE OF THE BIAS IN THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
DAVID E. SCHIMMELPFENNIG
GEORGE W. NORTON
Economists provide sometimes contradictory information about economic systems that contribute to policy design. How does one value this type of knowledge? A political-economic game is presented that allows for reinforcing and contradictory research messages. Policy makers are assumed to follow a Bayesian decision theory process and the model is tested with quantitative estimates of the value of research on the degree of bias in the Consumer Price Index. Most economists agree that a bias exists, but published estimates vary widely. A blue-ribbon panel of economists recommended revisions to how the index is calculated, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics subsequently made revisions that differed from their original plans, but how much influence did the panel really have on the revisions? (JEL "Z00") Copyright 2005 Western Economic Association International.
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