Difficult to compare consumer price indices between countries

News, Staff memo Consumer price indices and inflation rates can vary between different countries, due in part to data being collected and processed in different ways. This is important to bear in mind when comparing measurements of consumer prices in different countries.

Several factors can make it difficult to compare consumer price indices in different countries. It may for example be a question of the volume of data collected or what is included in the CPI consumption basket. This Staff Memo by Oskar Tysklind focuses on another aspect; the adjustments made for quality changes when products in the consumption basket are replaced.

Price development for product groups adjusted for quality in the consumer price statistics, such as computers and home electronics, varies significantly between different countries in Europe. Sweden is one of the countries in which these sub-indices have increased most slowly since 2000. As it is often approximately the same products being sold in all European countries, and because these can easily be traded between countries, it may be difficult to understand why these prices differ. An important explanation for this seems to be that countries use different methods when they make quality assessments.


The staff memo was written by Oskar Tysklind. The author works in the Riksbank's Monetary Policy Department

About staff memos

A staff memo provides members of the Riksbank’s staff with the opportunity to publish advanced analyses of relevant issues. It is a publication for civil servants that is free of policy conclusions and individual standpoints on current policy issues.

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Updated 24/01/2020