Constructing and Updating a Cost-of-Living Index for the Purpose of Ensuring Purchasing Power Parity of the Remuneration of Expatriate Officials
Ibrahim S. Yansaneh, Roberto Pagan
International Civil Service Commission, United Nations, New York, NY, United States

The paper presents an overview of the methodology and procedures for creating the post adjustment index, which is designed to equalize the purchasing power of the remuneration of officials of the United Nations system, serving around the world, in countries with widely varying economic conditions, target population sizes and compositions; and levels of development. The major components of the index, and procedures for measuring and aggregating them, are described, including the use of surveys of expenditures administered to expatriate officials, and of prices of a representative basket of goods and services. Procedures for updating the index over time, taking into account inflation and exchange-rate fluctuations, are also presented. Problems encountered in constructing the index, and proposed solutions, are also discussed, including adjustments for changes in quality over time.

Keywords: Cost-of-living index; Consumer price index; Expenditure surveys; Price surveys

Biography: Dr. Yansaneh is Director of the Cost-of-Living Division of the International Civil Service Commission, an independent expert body established by the United Nations General Assembly, primarily to coordinate and regulate the conditions of service of officials of the United Nations system. Previously, Dr. Yansaneh held several positions in the United Nations system, as well as both the public and private sectors in the United States, including Chief of the Methodology and Analysis Unit in the Office of the Director of the United Nations Statistics Division, and Senior Statistician at Westat, and Research Associate in the Office of Survey Methods Research at the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. His main areas of professional interest are cost-of-living measurement, and survey methodology, in general.