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At What Price?: Conceptualizing and Measuring Cost-of-Living and Price Indexes
ture information for item categories so that a sample of those outlets can be selected with a probability proportional to consumer use. The POPS is needed because the CEX does not ask consumers where they purchased goods. Given that there is some functional overlap between the CEX and POPS, the panel considers, among other things, the possibility of merging or better coordinating these two surveys. The report also reviews the CPI’s Commodities and Services Survey, a longitudinal survey that tracks changes in price quotes for most CPI sampled consumer items over time.
Since most options for improving CPI support data are expensive, particularly those involving the household surveys, and because there is methodological inflexibility under the current system, it is also worth considering entirely new data production alternatives. Therefore, in Chapter 9 the panel considers (1) the tradeoffs associated with changing to PCE-based expenditure weighting; (2) the possibility of combining POPS and CEX into an integrated survey that contains expenditure and outlet-use data at detailed product levels, along with household demographic information needed for subgroup indexes; and (3) what might be gained from moving toward scanner-based collection systems, which could be used to improve the existing surveys or as a component of an alternative.