Chained dollars

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Chained dollars is a method of adjusting real dollar amounts for inflation over time, to allow the comparison of figures from different years.[1] The U.S. Department of Commerce introduced the chained-dollar measure in 1996. It generally reflects dollar figures computed with 2012 as the base year.[2]


  • Constant Dollars: weighted by a constant/unchanging basket/list of goods and services.
  • Chained Dollars: weighted by a basket/list that changes yearly to more accurately reflect actual spending. The basket is an average of the basket for successive pairs of years; example of paired years are 2010–2011, 2011–2012, etc.

The technique is so named because the second number in a pair of successive years becomes the first in the next pair. The result is a continuous "chain" of weights and averages.[3] The advantage of using the chained-dollar measure is that it is more closely related to any given period covered and is subject to less distortion over time.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mark McCracken, Definition of Chained dollars Accessed 2009.05.11.
  2. ^ Note the BEA using 2012 chained dollars
  3. ^ U.S. Department of Energy, Chained Dollars Archived August 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, citing EIA, Annual Energy Review 1999.
  4. ^ Mark McCracken, op. cit.

External links[edit]