The Price and Index Number Research (PINR) conducts research to strengthen and improve existing price and expenditure measurement concepts and techniques and enhance the analytical usefulness of BLS programs.


Division of Price and Index Number Research

The Division was created in 1963 in response to the Stigler Commission Report on Federal price statistics. It has had a long and successful professional history, both in providing economic consulting services to the Bureau and in serving as a source of, and conduit for, new ideas in the economics profession.

A large portion of Division staff time is devoted to individual, long term research on both theoretical and empirical topics. Traditionally, Division research has been oriented toward resolution of measurement problems, using a wide range of methods from microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, consumer economics, industrial organization, labor economics, mathematical economics, econometrics, and statistics.

The Division also provides consulting services to the other price program Divisions as the need arises. For example, staff members have worked with analysts from the Consumer Price Program to develop and analyze the new C-CPI-U (superlative price index). Currently consulting efforts also include projects involving the Producer Price Index Program and the Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Current research includes:

  • Evaluating the differences between Consumer Expenditure Survey and Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) data, and comparing the PCE deflator to the CPI.
  • Evaluating the measurement of health insurance prices.
  • Development of an alternative price index for college tuition
  • Evaluating the methodology of quality adjustment in the CPI
  • Developing hedonic methodologies for consumer audio products, personal computers, and televisions.
  • Evaluating the methodology for measuring the services from home-ownership in the CPI.
  • Examining the differences in measures of price change for different demographic groups.


PIR Publications

Publications and Working Papers


  • Bradley, Ralph. "Analytical Bias Reduction for Small Samples in the US Consumer Price Index," Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 2007.
  • Bradley, Ralph.  "Can Health Care Claims Data Improve the Estimation of the Medical CPI?," joint with Xong S, Marder W. and Conklin J., International Conference on Index Number Theory and the Measurement of Prices and Productivity, ed Nakamura A. and Diewert E.  Forthcoming, National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Erickson, Timothy. "An Experimental Component Index for the CPI: From Annual Computer Data to Monthly Data on Other Goods" (with Ariel Pakes). 
  • Erickson, Timothy. "Equilibrium Market Dynamics and the Measurement of Inflation and Quality Change" (with Patricia Langohr). 
  • Greenlees, John and Robert McClelland. "Price Differentials Across Outlets in Consumer Price Index Data, 2002-2006,", presented at the Tenth Meeting of the InternationalWorking Group on Price Indices, Ottawa, Canada, October 11, 2007.
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "The Puzzling Divergence of Aggregate Rents and User Costs, 1980-2004." Working Paper, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "The Puzzling Divergence of Aggregate Rents and User Costs, 1980-2004: Summary and Extensions" (with Thesia Garner) in Price and Productivity Measurement, Vol. I: Housing, Eds. W. Erwin Diewert, Bert M. Balk, Dennis Fixler, Kevin J. Fox and Alice O. Nakamura, Trafford Press, forthcoming 2007. (Also available as BLS Working Paper 409)
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "Do the CPI's Utilities Adjustments for OER Distort Inflation Measurement?" Working Paper, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "Explaining the Rent-OER Inflation Divergence, 1999-2006" (with Rob Poole). BLS Working Paper 410.
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "Improving the CPI's Age-Bias Adjustment: Leverage, Disaggregation and Model-Averaging" (with Joshua Gallin). BLS Working Paper 411.
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "Determinants of Rent Changes: Location, Location, Location?" (with Dorfman, Johnson, Marsh, Poole, Shoemaker) Working Paper, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Garner, Thesia. "The CE and the PCE: A Comparison" (2006). Monthly Labor Review, September 2006. 
  • Garner, Thesia, and Kathleen Short. "Economic Well-Being Based on Income, Consumer Expenditures and Personal Assessments of Minimum Needs" (2004)  BLS Working Paper 381, March 2006.
  • Greenlees, John. "The BLS Response to the Boskin Commission Report," International Productivity Monitor, Number 12 (Spring 2006), pp. 23-41.
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "The CPI is Not A Constant-Standard-of-Living Compensation: What You Don’t Know About Cost-of-Living Indexes" (with Greg Kurtzon). Working Paper, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Bradley, Ralph. "Pitfalls of using Unit Values as a Price Measure or Price Index," Journal of Social and Economic Measurement, 2005.
  • Greenlees, John. "Introducing the Chained Consumer Price Index," (with Robert Cage and Patrick Jackman), in International Working Group on Price Indices (Ottawa Group): Proceedings of the Seventh Meeting (Thierry Lacroix, ed.). Paris: INSEE, 2003, pp. 213-246.
  • Greenlees, John. "Round Table Remarks: Scanner Data in Official Statistics," in Scanner Data and Price Indexes (Robert Feenstra and Matthew Shapiro, eds.). NBER Studies in Income and Wealth 64, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003, pp. 113-116. 


  • Bradley, R. "Price Index Estimation Using Price Imputation for Unsold Item." in Feenstra, R. and Shapiro, M., eds. Scanner Data and Price Indexes, NBER, 2002, pp349-379.
  • Erickson, Timothy and Whited, Toni M. "Two-Step GMM Estimation of the Errors-in-Variables Model Using High-Order Moments." Econometric Theory, June 2002, 18(3), pp. 776-99.
  • Garner, Thesia I. and Short, Kathleen. "Personal Assessments of Minimum Income and Expenses: What Do They Tell Us about 'Minimum Living' Thresholds and Equivalence Scales?" in John A. Bishop and Yoram Amiel, eds., Inequality, Poverty and the Redistribution of Income, Research on Economic Inequality, Vol. 10, New York: Elsevier Science, Forthcoming.
  • Garner, Thesia I., Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, and Sastre, Mercedes. "The Influence of Demographic and Household Specific Price Indices on Consumption Based Inequality and Welfare: A Comparison of Spain and the United States." Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming.
  • Garner, Thesia and Stewart, Kenneth J. "Consumer Price Index and COLAs" in David J. Ekerdt, ed., Encyclopedia of Aging, Macmillan Reference USA, an Imprint of the Gale Group, New York, 2002.
  • Garner, Thesia I. and Short, Kathleen "Experimental Poverty Measures Under Alternate Treatments of Medical Out-of-Pocket Expenditures." Monthly Labor Review, August 2002, pp. 3-13.
  • Greenlees, John. "Consumer Price Indexes: Methods for Quality and Variety Change," Statistical Journal of the United Nations ECE, 17 (2000), pp. 59-74.
  • Erickson, Timothy. "Constructing Instruments for Regressions With Measurement Error When No Additional Data Are Available: Comment." Econometrica, January 2001, 69(1), pp 221-22.
  • Garner, Thesia I., Iceland, J., Johnson, David S., and Short, K. "Are Children Worse Off? Evaluating Child Well-being Using the New (and Improved) Measure of Poverty." Journal of Human Resources, 2001, Vol. 36:2, 2001, pp. 398-412.
  • Greenlees, John.  "The U.S. CPI and the Cost-of-Living Objective," presented at the Joint ECE/ILO Meeting on Consumer Price Indices in Geneva, Switzerland, November 2, 2001.
  • Greenlees, John. "Random Errors and Superlative Indexes," presented at the Annual Conference of the Western Economic Association in San Diego, California, July 8, 1999. Reprinted as Bureau of Labor Statistics Working Paper 343, March 2001.
  • Greenlees, John. "The U.S. CPI and the Cost-of-Living Objective," presented at the Joint ECE/ILO Meeting on Consumer Price Indices in Geneva, Switzerland, November 2, 2001.
  • Jain, R. "A State Space Model-Based Method of Seasonal Adjustment." Vol. 124: 7, July 2001
  • Johnson, David S. "Book review: Consumption and Social Welfare: Living standards and their distribution in the United States" (by Daniel T. Slesnick). Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 39:3, Sept. 2001.
  • Johnson, David S., Rogers, John, and Tan, Lucilla. "A Century of Family Budgets in the United States." Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 124:5, May 2001.
  • Kokoski, Mary. "Using Hedonic Methods for Quality Adjustment in the CPI: The Consumer Audio Products Component," (with K. Waehrer and P. Rozaklis), BLS Working Paper 344, 2001. 
  • McClelland, Robert. Do Prices Rise Uniformly Across Regions? with Dennis Fixler Center for Applied Economic Research Working Paper June 2001
  • To, Theodore and Burke, Andrew. "Can Reduced Entry Barriers Worsen Market Performance?" International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2001, 19(5), pp. 695-704.
  • Zadrozny, Peter and Chen, Baoline. "Analytic Derivatives of the Matrix Exponential for Estimation of Linear Continuous-Time Models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control (2001) 25, 1867-1879.
  • Zadrozny, Peter and Chen, Baoline. "Real-Time Quarterly Signal-Plus-Noise Model for Estimating 'True' GDP," American Statistical Association, Proceedings of the Business and Economic Statistics Section 2001.
  • Bradley, R. "Finite Sample Effects in the Construction of Price Index." Journal of Official Statistics, Vol. 17, no. 3, 2000.
  • Erickson, Timothy and Whited, Toni M. "Measurement Error and the Relationship Between Investment and Q." Journal of Political Economy, October 2000, 108(5), pp. 1027-57.
  • Erickson, Timothy. "The Ambiguous Effect of New and Improved Goods on the Cost-of-Living." Economics Letters, August 2000, 68(2), pp. 143-7.
  • Greenlees, John. "Consumer Price Indexes: Methods for Quality and Variety Change," Statistical Journal of the United Nations ECE, 17 (2000), pp. 59-74.
  • Johnson, David S., Lino, Mark. "Teenagers: Employment and Contributions to Family Spending," Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 123:9, September 2000.
  • Johnson, David S. "Economic and Social Conditions of Children and the Elderly," Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 123:4, April, 2000.
  • Verbrugge, Randal. "Risk Aversion, Learning Spillovers, and Path Dependent Economic Growth." Economics Letters, 2000, 68(1), pp. 197-202.
  • Verbrugge, Randal and Sarangi, Sudipta. "Price Discrimination in Rental Markets." Economics Letters, 2000, 69(2), pp. 153-158.
  • Zadrozny, Peter and Baoline Chen. "Estimation of Capital and Technology with a Dynamic Economic Model," with Baoline Chen, American Statistical Association, Proceedings of the Business and Economic Statistics Section (2000), 173-178.
  • Garner, Thesia I. and Rozaklis, Patricia. "Accounting for Owner Occupied Housing in Poverty: Focus on Thresholds." American Statistical Association (ASA) Proceedings of the Section on Government Statistics and Section on Social Statistics, 1999, Baltimore, Maryland. American Statistical Association, Alexandria, VA, 1999, pp. 33-35.
  • Kokoski, Mary, Moulton, Brent, and Zieschang, Kimberly. "Interarea Price Comparisons for Heterogeneous Goods and Several Levels of Commodity Aggregation," in Alan Heston and Robert Lipsey, eds. International and Interarea Comparisons of Income, Output, and Prices, NBER studies in Income and Wealth. Univ of Chicago Press, 1999 pp. 123-170.
  • Short, Kathleen, Garner, Thesia I., Johnson, David S. and Doyle, Patricia. Experimental Poverty Measures: 1990 to 1997. Current Population Reports, Consumer Income, P60-205. U.S. Census Bureau. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 1999.
  • Zadrozny, Peter and Stuart Scott. "Aggregation and Model-Based Methods in Seasonal Adjustment of Labor Force Series," American Statistical Association, Proceedings of the Business and Economic Statistics Section (1999), 156-161.


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Contact Us

Division Chief:
  Robert B. McClelland (202) 691-6597
General Information
    (202) 691-6573  
Research Economists
  Ralph Bradley (202) 691-6575
  Timothy Erickson (202) 691-5145
  Thesia Garner (202) 691-6576
  John Greenlees (202) 691-6997
  Raj Jain (202) 691-6579
  Mina Kim (202) 691-6596
  Mary Kokoski (202) 691-6581
  Greg Kurtzon (202) 691-6574
  Paul Sullivan (202) 691-6593
  Theodore To (202) 691-6590
  Randal Verbrugge (202) 691-6587
  Elliot Williams (202) 691-6585
  Peter Zadrozny (202) 691-6591