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Apparel Prices 1914–1993 and the Hulten/Bruegel Paradox

Apparel Prices 1914–1993 and the Hulten/Bruegel Paradox

(p.85) 2 Apparel Prices 1914–1993 and the Hulten/Bruegel Paradox
Price Index Concepts and Measurement
Robert J. Gordon
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the comparison of hedonic and matched-model (MM) indexes for apparel prices in the United States using Sears catalogue data over the period 1914–1993, and compares the resulting indexes with the corresponding Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) apparel index over the same period. The research, which is based on roughly 10,000 exact comparisons for the matched-model (MM) index and another 6,500 observations on the prices and quality characteristics of women's dresses, leads to several conclusions and numerous questions for further research. The chapter explains that the Sears MM indexes do not exhibit a consistent negative or positive drift relative to their BLS Consumer Price Index counterparts. It is found that the hedonic price index for women's apparel always increases more rapidly than the corresponding MM index.

Keywords:   Sears catalogue, apparel prices, Consumer Price Index, CPI, matched model, MM, Labor Statistics, BLS, MM index

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