Clothing Expenditure Units: A New Time Series

Per capita figures in general permit an assessment of changes in economic quantities and values over time, unobscured by trends in population size. Use of total population as the divisor implicitly assumes that each member of the population has equal importance as a consumer or spender, or that the relative distribution of the various groups in the population remains basically unchanged. For many items, such an assumption can be made, but for others it is not acceptable. Apparel expenditures are a case in point. These expenditures differ markedly by age and sex. And the age-sex composition of the population has changed and is changing. This article presents as a population divisor for apparel expenditures a new series called "clothing expenditure units" and contrasts the results of its use with the traditional approach. Calculation of the new series entailed the application of weights consisting of clothing expenditure relatives by age and sex to population estimates by age and sex. The procedure, including assumptions and source material, is described in detail. For valuable assistance in the development of the conceptual basis of the study and in preparation of the research, the author is indebted to Frank Lowenstein, head of the Cotton and Other Fibers Section of the Statistical and Historical Research Branch, Agricultural Economics Division, AMS.

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Agricultural Economics Research, 10, 2
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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