[Answered] ECON312N- Week 6 Discussion: Inflation in the Costs of Education and Healthcare


ECON312N Principles Of Economics

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average monthly change in the price for goods and services paid by urban consumers between any two time periods. There are three steps in calculating the CPI.

  1. The cost of the CPI market basket is calculated at base year prices.
  2. The cost of the CPI market basket is calculated at current period prices.
  3. The CPI is calculated for the base period and the current period.

The CPI is used to calculate changes in the cost of living and changes in the value of money. To measure these changes, we calculate the inflation rate, which is the percentage change in the price level from one year to the other. Due to the volatility in the prices of certain goods and services, the CPI basket (that includes all items that Americans spend most of their incomes on) might not be a reliable measure of inflationary and deflationary periods. To get a more accurate measure of CPI, therefore, food and energy items are removed from the basket to get Core CPI (Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items Less Food & Energy [CPILFESL]). This measure of the cost of living is often used as a benchmark for changes in the cost of other goods and services.

Two key components of CPI are the costs of education and healthcare. These two variables constitute what is known in economics as human capital, which is a key determinant in the productivity of labor, and hence, essential for economic growth and development. In the last few decades, the value of these variables has risen faster than the value of the general level of prices (CPI), which they are subsets of. According to David Wiczer (2017), “the price of medical care has grown at an average annual rate of 5.3% while the entire basket (headline CPI) has grown at an average annual rate of 3.5%.” He goes on to state that “In the past 20 years, in the regime of stable inflation, headline CPI has grown at an average annual rate of 2.2%, whereas the price level of medical care has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6% – about 70% faster” (para. 1).

As shown in Figure 1, the increases in the costs associated with Health and Education have consistently exceeded the overall cost of living during the period of observation (2000-2018). There are many consequences for the high cost of healthcare and education, not least of which are skipping expensive but necessary medical procedures, discouragement from pursuing career enhancing educational requirements, or resorting to educational loans with the potential for life-long financial consequences.

Graph showing increases in the overall cost of living (CPI) vs. increases in the costs of health and education

Figure 1: Increases in the Overall Cost of Living (CPI) Vs. Increases in the Costs of Healthcare and Education.


Initial Post Instructions
For the initial post, you will focus on health or education. Address the following, providing specific examples within the area of focus, perhaps what you have seen in your own communities as well as research:

  • What are the implications (including tradeoffs and effects) of the high cost of either health or education on the human capital needs of the U.S. economy?
  • What policies would you recommend to rein in these costs or at least to slow down their rate of increase?

Follow-Up Post Instructions

Respond to at least one peer. Respond to a peer who chose the option you did not choose. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification.

Writing Requirements

  • Minimum of 2 posts (1 initial & 1 follow-up)
  • Minimum of 2 sources cited (assigned readings/online lessons and an outside scholarly source)
  • APA format for in-text citations and list of references

This activity will be graded using the Discussion Grading Rubric. Please review the following link:

Course Outcomes (CO): 5, 6, 7

Due Date for Initial Post: By 11:59 p.m. MT Recommended by Wednesday
Due Date for Follow-Up Posts: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Sunday

Posts must be on two separate days.


Education inflation is one of the two industries that the percent change in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) has regularly exceeded that of the standard basket of goods (All Items Less Food and Energy). (Chamberlain, 2021). Education has seen a large increase in cost over the years. According to Forbes, “The average cost of attending a four-year college or university in the United States rose by 497% between the 1985-86 and 2017-18 academic years, more than twice the rate of inflation.” (News, 2020). …..please click the icon below to purchase the answer at $5