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Trimmed-Mean Inflation Statistics: Just Hit the One in the Middle

This paper reinvestigates the performance of trimmed-mean inflation measures some 20 years since their inception, asking whether there is a particular trimmed-mean measure that dominates the median CPI. Unlike previous research, we evaluate the performance of symmetric and asymmetric trimmed-means using a well-known equality of prediction test. We find that there is a large swath of trimmed-means that have statistically indistinguishable performance. Also, while the swath of statistically similar trims changes slightly over different sample periods, it always includes the median CPI—an extreme trim that holds conceptual and computational advantages. We conclude with a simple forecasting exercise that highlights the advantage of the median CPI (and trimmed-mean estimators in general) relative to other standard measures in forecasting headline inflation.

Keywords: Inflation, Inflation forecasting, trimmed-mean estimators.
JEL codes: E31, E37.

Suggested citation: Meyer, Brent and Guhan Venkatu, 2012. "Trimmed-Mean Inflation Statistics: Just Hit the One in the Middle," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper no. 12-17R.

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