The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Consumer price indexes (CPIs) are compiled at the higher (weighted) level using Laspeyres-type arithmetic averages. This paper questions the suitability of such formulas and considers two counterpart alternatives that use geometric averaging, the Geometric Young and the (price-updated) Geometric Lowe. The paper provides a formal decomposition and understanding of the differences between the two. Empirical results are provided using United States CPI data. The findings lead to an advocacy of variants of a hybrid formula suggested by Lent and Dorfman (2009) that substantially reduces bias from Laspeyres-type indexes.