The Construction of Index Numbers

The Construction of Index Numbers

The Construction of Index Numbers

The Construction of Index Numbers

Excerpt

In the academic year 1927-28 I gave the graduate course in Statistical Theory and Analysis at Harvard University. The point of view of statistics which I emphasized in that course was that the subject is not a collection of numerical facts, but rather a method and a logic; that the science of statistics is an applied science in which it is just as necessary to scrutinize the premises as the logic and mathematics; that mechanistic and universalistic notions of statistics are mistaken; that statistical methods are frequently dependent upon the peculiar data to which they are applied; that such methods are sound when they can be retained in actual practice, even though the methods are not applicable to data of another sort; and that economic statistics has the same relation to economics and mathematics as mathematical physics has to physics and mathematics. The construction of index numbers was discussed from the point of view just indicated, that is, as a problem necessarily involving not only economics and mathematics, but also the nature of the data utilized. The discussion referred to is presented in the following pages.

WARREN M. PERSONS

August 15, 1928.

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