The new smoother measure of inflation

The principal measure of inflation, the consumer prices index, is calculated from price changes in a basket of goods. The composition of this basket is changed each year to reflect changes in consumer spending patterns. 2008 sees smoothies, USB storage devices and muffins coming into the basket, while ready meals and 35mm camera film have had their day and leave the basket of goods.

What’s in and what’s out in 2008 Guardian (17/3/08)
Fruit smoothies in, ready meals out Guardian (17/3/08)
Smoothie pour into cost of living basket Guardian (17/3/08)
Let them eat sourdough bread, olives and sun-dried tomatoes Guardian (17/3/08)
Smoothies join basket of goods used to calculate inflation Times Online (18/3/08)


1. Explain what is meant by a weighted index. Why does the consumer prices index (CPI) need to be a weighted index?
2. Explain how the CPI is calculated.
3. Discuss why annual percentage changes in the CPI may not be an appropriate measure of inflation for all groups in society.