In recent years, a large number of empirical articles on structural decomposition analysis, which aims at disentangling an aggregate change in a variable into its r factors, has been published in this journal. Commonly used methods are the average of the two polar decompositions and the average of all r! elementary decompositions (Dietzenbacher and Los, 1998, D&L). We propose to use instead the 'ideal' Montgomery decomposition, which means that it satisfies the requirement of factor reversal imposed in index number theory. We prefer it to the methods previously mentioned. The average of the two polar decompositions is not 'ideal', so that the outcome depends on the ordering of the factors. The average of all elementary decompositions is 'ideal', but requires the computation of an ever increasing number of decompositions when the number of factors increases. Application to the example of D&L (four factors) shows that the three methods yield results that are close to each other.

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Econometric Institute Reprint Series
Economic Systems Research
Erasmus School of Economics

de Boer, P. (2008). Additive structural decomposition analysis and index number theory: An empirical application of the Montgomery decomposition. In Economic Systems Research (Vol. 20, pp. 97–109). doi:10.1080/09535310801892066