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How substituting chicken for beef affects inflation

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As Marketplace celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we are looking at the surprising, sometimes delightful and sometimes destructive ways that prices have changed during that quarter century.

This time, we’re talking about the time policymakers tinkered with the government’s official measure of retail inflation, the Consumer Price Index.

That’s calculated by monitoring the changing prices of a pre-determined basket of goods. But what goes into that basket can change your view of inflation, as proven back in the 90s when the Boskin Commission convened to address the rising cost of COLAs (Cost-of-Living Adjustments) for social security.

Money manager and Bloomberg and Washington Post columnist Barry Ritholtz remembers what happened next.

Click the media player above to hear Barry Ritholtz in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

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