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DEVELOPING SPATIAL INDEXES
The ABS has done some work of this kind in the past. For example, in 1994 there was a three-way comparison of the cost of living in Darwin, Perth and Sydney, to support the inquiries of a government committee. In 1995, a comparison was done for Christmas Island, the Cocos Islands and Perth. Our exploratory work next year will draw on that experience.
One of the technical problems to be solved arises because many items included in the CPI basket for one city may not appear in the baskets for other cities. Ways of dealing with this "sparse matrix" problem have been proposed by several analysts, including Dr Jim Cuthbert (former head of the Scottish National Statistical Office) who visited the ABS in early 2000. The project team will be consulting Dr Cuthbert on this and other issues.
For more information, please contact William Milne on (02) 6252 6298.
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