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31 March 2014

OTTAWA GROUP ON PRICE INDICES

Purpose:

The Ottawa Group on Price Indices was formed in 1994 to provide a forum for specialists to share their experiences and discuss research on crucial problems of measuring price change. Without avoiding theoretical issues, the focus of the Group is on applied research, particularly in the area of consumer price indices. The Group examines advantages and disadvantages of various concepts, methods and procedures in the context of realistic operational environments. Participants are specialists and practitioners who work for, or are advisers to, statistical agencies in different countries or international organizations. The Group meets every 18 to 24 months.

The Group has a Steering Committee, which ensures both the continuity and evolution of its activities. The Committee comprises representatives of the agencies that host the Group's recent or upcoming meetings, together with others agreed to by the membership from time to time. The representative of the Australian Bureau of Statistics is currently serving as Executive Secretary. The Committee outlines long-term activity plans for the Group and proposes topics for the meetings. The Committee extends invitations to agencies for the submission of papers on the agreed topics and is responsible for the selection of papers to be presented. Their authors are invited to the meeting, possibly with other specialists whose contribution to the discussion on a specific topic is considered useful. The number of active participants is kept limited for the sake of efficient discussion; however the host agency may invite a reasonable number of additional participants.

The meetings are divided into sessions. Each session is devoted to one, clearly defined topic with a designated moderator who is also responsible for producing a summary of the discussions and recording any recommendations. In addition, poster sessions were conducted for the first time at the most recent meeting in Copenhagen in 2013. This innovation was a welcome development that facilitated discussion in a less formal environment.

The host agency provides facilities for the meeting and arranges for the collation of papers and summaries of proceedings. The participants bear the cost of travel, accommodation and subsistence during the sessions.

Information about the Group and copies of papers and summaries of proceedings are available on the Internet. The agency providing secretariat services (currently the Australian Bureau of Statistics) is responsible for maintaining a Web-site open to the public (www.ottawagroup.org ). The Steering Committee may also decide to edit and periodically release compendia on selected topics, whenever it is warranted by the status of available materials.

In addition to the Ottawa Group, the Joint UNECE/ILO Meeting on Consumer Price Indices serves as a forum for discussion of the practical and methodological aspects of the compilation of price indices. The presentation and discussion of papers and exchange of experiences supports the development of internationally accepted standards and methods and their implementation in practice. Information about the next meeting in 2014 is available on the UNECE website.

Year organized:

1994

Participants"

Members of the many national statistical offices, international statistical offices such as the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), the Statistics Department of the International Monetary Fund, the International Labour Organization, the Economic Commission for Europe and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have attended at least one meeting of the Group, as have other experts in price indices.

Meetings:

The Group has met on twelve occasions:

  • Ottawa , 31 October- 3 November 1994
  • Stockholm , 15-17 November 1995
  • Voorburg, the Netherlands, 16-18 April 1997
  • Washington , D.C. , 22-24 April 1998
  • Reykjavik , 25-27 August 1999
  • Canberra , 16-21 April 2001
  • Paris , 27-29 May 2003
  • Helsinki , 23-25 August 2004
  • London , 14-16 May 2006
  • Ottawa , 10-12 October 2007
  • Neuchatel , Switzerland , 27-29 May 2009
  • Wellington , New Zealand , 4-6 May 2011
  • Copenhagen, Denmark,  1-3 May 2013

Meetings scheduled:

  • The next meeting of the Group is scheduled to be held in Tokyo in 2015.

Recent activities:

The Group last reported to the Statistical Commission in 2014.

Fundamental problems of price measurement continued to be the focus at the most recent meeting. The Ottawa Group considered topics such as residential and commercial property price indices, measuring services prices, new developments in calculation and weighting methodologies, developments in the use of transactions (scanner) data, developments of seasonal adjustment and other analytical price measures, and international comparability of price indices and other international comparisons.

In total, 20 papers were presented for discussion in the plenary sessions and 23 papers were presented at ‘poster’ sessions. The meeting papers were well received by participants and discussions focused on various topics relating to the concepts, methods and compilation procedures for price indices. The key points emerging from each session are provided in the full report on the thirteenth meeting of the Ottawa Group, available from the Group’s website.

A copy of the papers presented at all past meetings are available to download at www.ottawagroup.org.

Point of contact:

Marcel van Kints
Secretariate, Ottawa Group
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
Australia
Telephone: (61) 2 6252 7785
E-mail: marcel.van.kints@abs.gov.au

Reporting to the UN Statistical Commission: