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At What Price?: Conceptualizing and Measuring Cost-of-Living and Price Indexes
Elements of the Index and Subindexes
The “goods” used in the CPI are organized into expenditure classes (ECs); as of 1999, there were 68 ECs. These are in turn are subdivided into item strata; as of 1998, there were 218 strata. Finally, the item strata are subdivided into entry-level items (ELIs); as of 2000, there were 282 ELIs.14 The following is an example of this hierarchy of goods (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1997a):
Expenditure Class 24: Maintenance and repair commodities
Item stratum 2401: Materials, supplies, equipment for home repairs
24011: Paint, wallpaper, and supplies
24012: Tools and equipment for painting
24013: Lumber, paneling, wall and ceiling tile; awnings, glass
24014: Blacktop and masonry materials
24015: Plumbing supplies and equipment
24016: Electrical supplies, heating and cooling equipment.
Item stratum 2404: Other property maintenance commodities
24041: Miscellaneous supplies and equipment
24042: Hard surface floor covering
24043: Landscaping items
Subsequently, the ECs and their components were redesignated; in the 26 March 1999 list of ELIs, EC24 has been restructured as:
Expenditure Class HM: Tools, hardware, outdoor equipment and supplies
Item stratum HM01: Tools, hardware, and supplies
HM011: Paint, wallpaper tools, and supplies
HM012: Power tools
HM013: Miscellaneous hardware, supplies, and equipment
HM014: Nonpower hand yools
Item stratum HM02: Outdoor equipment and supplies
HM021: Powered lawn and garden equipment and other outdoor items
HM022: Lawn and garden supplies and insecticides
The data used in the CPI are collected in 87 primary sampling units (PSUs; see Williams, 1996). The data are aggregated into 54 basic areas—34 self-representing areas (e.g., Kansas City, MO-KS) and 20 region- and population-size
Data from BLS dictionaries and Dennis Fixler (BLS, personal communication, 2000).