Pros and cons of scraping the web to measure inflation

Posted on March 22, 2016  /  0 Comments

shopThe Economist carries an account of a new way of measuring inflation based on big data. Not applicable to our countries yet. But a watching brief is justified.

The new index completely misses changes in offline prices and spending on things like petrol and rent. It will not replace the CPI any time soon. It does suggest, however, that official statistics may themselves be missing big price movements, especially for consumer technology. The researchers found that the price of computers fell by 13.1% in the year to January, almost double the 7.1% fall recorded in the CPI. Televisions fell more in price than the CPI reports, too. The speed of innovation in technology might account for the difference. The researchers found that fully 80% of technology spending is on new products, which the more nimble DPI can incorporate quickly.

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