Is There a Quality Bias in the Canadian CPI? Evidence from Micro Data

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Rising consumer prices may reflect shifts by consumers to new higher-priced products, mostly for durable and semi-durable goods. I apply Bils’ (2009) methodology to newly available Canadian consumer price data for non-shelter goods and services to estimate how price increases can be divided between quality growth and price inflation. I find that less than one-third of observed price increases during model changeovers should be attributed to quality growth. This implies overall price inflation close to inflation measured by the official index. I conclude that, according to Bils’ methodology, the quality bias is not an important source of potential mismeasurement of CPI inflation in Canada.

JEL Code(s): E, E3, E31, M, M1, M11, O, O4, O47