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Mr. Jemma Dridi and Mr. Kimberly D. Zieschang

products within those commodity codes. To evaluate the fitness of customs unit values as the basis for elementary aggregate price indices, we consider two suites of testing protocols. Price dispersion test Our definition of a product is based fundamentally on the price dispersion of all transactions falling within the group defined by the item. We can consider a given domain of export or import transactions defined by a particular set of commodity and transaction characteristics to be a product if there is very little price dispersion within the domain at any given

Mr. Kimberly D. Zieschang and Mr. Jemma Dridi
Export and import price indices are essential for assessing the impact of international trade on the domestic economy. Among their most important uses are analyzing developments in the trade balance, measuring foreign prices' contribution to domestic inflation, and deflating nominal values of exports and imports for estimating the volume of gross domestic product. This paper discusses the main uses of trade indices and the data sources used to compile them. It also presents various approaches used to compile foreign trade price indices, addresses various problems encountered in developing these indices, and provides some recommendations on how to address them.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This first issue of Volume 51 for 2004 includes a new paper by Peter B. Clark and Jacques J. Polak, along with a tribute from the Editor to Mr. Polak in honor of his 90th birthday. This issue also launches a new featured section, "Data Issues," which will be devoted in future issues to on-going discussions of the latest in econometric and statistical tools for economists, data puzzles, and other related topics of interest to researchers.
Mr. Kimberly D. Zieschang and Mr. Jemma Dridi

. Price dispersion test 103. Our definition of an elementary item is fundamentally based on the price dispersion of all transactions falling within the group defined by the item. We can consider a given domain of export or import transactions defined by a particular set of commodity and transaction characteristics to be an elementary item if there is very little price dispersion within the domain at any given point in time. By implication, an elementary aggregate defined by a customs commodity class crossed with destination/source country may satisfy this condition

International Monetary Fund

to adopt for a particular method. Contacts with importing and exporting establishments will be useful to decide on what constitutes outliers or alternative groups. 6.18 However, the use of unit values in such circumstances is born out of limited resources to do otherwise and should not be relied upon. This explains the rationale behind the strategy in Chapter 2 , Section G , of such hybrid indices being part of a staged progression to XMPIs, primarily based on survey data. C.1 Price dispersion test 6.19 Our definition of an elementary item is based