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Getting Prices Right: Debate Over the Consumer Price Index (Economic Policy Institute)

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0765602220
ISBN-10: 0765602229
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dean Baker is the cofounder of the Center for Economic Policy and Policy Research in Washington, DC. Before founding the center, he was a senior economist in Washington's Economic Policy Institute. He has authored or edited several books, including The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (2006), Social Security: The Phony Crisis (1999, with Mark Weisbrot), Getting Prices Right: The Debate Over the Consumer Price Index, which won a Choice book award as one of the outstanding academic books of 1998, and Globalization and Progressive Economic Policy (Cambridge University Press, 1998, coedited with Jerry Epstein and Bob Pollin). Dr Baker has also written for a variety of professional and general-audience publications. His work on economic policy issues is often cited in the media, and he is frequently interviewed on television and radio. Dr Baker has also testified a number of times before Congressional committees. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan.
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Product Details

  • Series: Economic Policy Institute
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (October 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765602229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765602220
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,664,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a must read for anyone interested in getting prices right. The debate over prices concerns both public policy and pure economic research. The Boskin Commission claimed that the CPI overstates inflation and recommended that measures of inflation be ajdusted to correct for this. This recommendation was quickly embraced by many in the economics profession. It has also had an impact on public policy debate, particularly as regards indexation of social security. The first half of the book presents the Boskin Commission's findings verbatim, and supporters of overstatement are able to speak for themselves. The second half presents Dr. Baker's deconstruction of the Commission's findings. One part of his criticism involves the presentation of technical arguments and instances of CPI understatement. However, the most compelling part is Dr. Baker's reconstruction of recent U.S. economic history using Boskin's implied measure of prices. He shows that 50% of families were apparently living below the 1994 poverty level in 1960. This is implausible. Protagonists of the debate will no doubt continue slinging instances of over- and understatement of prices at each other. However, until supporters of CPI overstatement can explain away Dr. Baker's findings about implied poverty levels, their arguments will ring hollow.
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