MIT Billion Prices project

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The Billion Prices Project (BPP) is an academic initiative at MIT Sloan and Harvard Business School that uses prices collected from hundreds of online retailers around the world on a daily basis to conduct research in macro and international economics and compute real-time inflation metrics.[1] It was started in 2008 by professors Alberto Cavallo[2] and Roberto Rigobon.[3]

In 2007, the BPP initiated Inflación Verdadera, a project that provided a daily inflation gauge for Argentina, serving as an alternative to the official CPI which was manipulated by the government during 2007-2016. Within the same framework, in May 2017 the BPP began experimenting with crowd-sourcing and mobile technologies to measure the monthly inflation rate in Venezuela where official statistics haven’t been published since 2015.

Recent research projects include, for example, the study of how offline pricing behavior is being affected by the web, mobile browsing and price-checking technologies.[4] Other recent research makes use of online prices to construct quarterly purchasing power parities that could provide real-time estimates of real consumption across countries without the need for consumer price index extrapolations across both developing and developed countries.[5]

The BPP monitored daily price fluctuations of ~15 million items sold by +1000 online retailers in more than 70 countries.[6]

Media coverage[edit]

Recent media coverage includes:

  • "Mapping the economy in real time is almost ‘within our grasp’",[7] Financial Times
  • "Can’t Wait a Month for Inflation Data? Daily Gauge Shows Prices in Real Time",[8] The Wall Street Journal
  • "Can big data revolutionise policymaking by governments?",[9] Financial Times
  • "As the Fed Deliberates, Amazon Is Making Its Job More Difficult",[10] The Wall Street Journal
  • "An Economist Explains: How to Sort Facts From Fictions",[11] New York Times

'"Policy analysis with big data",[12] ECB

  • "Billion Prices Project: Introducing real-time economics".[13] MIT News
  • "Economics in central banking: Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon – Billion Prices Project/PriceStats".[14] Central Banking

Awards[edit]

In 2018, the BPP won the "Economics in Central Banking Award"[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DuVergne Smith, Nancy. "Billion Prices Project: Introducing Real-Time Economics". Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Alberto F Cavallo". Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Roberto Rigobon". Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  4. ^ Cavallo, A. (2017). "Are Online and Offline Prices Similar? Evidence from Large Multi-Channel Retailers". American Economic Review. 107 (1).
  5. ^ Cavallo A.; Diewert, W.E.; Feenstra, R.C.; Inklaar, R.; Timmer, M.P. "Using Online Prices for Measuring Real Consumption Across Countries". American Economic Review.
  6. ^ DuVergne Smith, Nancy. "Billion Prices Project: Introducing Real-Time Economics". Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  7. ^ Strauss, Delphine. "Mapping the economy in real time is almost 'within our grasp'". Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  8. ^ Morath, Eric. "Can't Wait a Month for Inflation Data? Daily Gauge Shows Prices in Real Time". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  9. ^ Wigglesworth, Robin. "Can big data revolutionise policymaking by governments?". Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  10. ^ Torry, Harriet. "As the Fed Deliberates, Amazon Is Making Its Job More Difficult". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  11. ^ Wolfers, Justin. "An Economist Explains: How to Sort Facts From Fictions". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  12. ^ Cœuré, Benoît. "Policy analysis with big data (Speech)". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  13. ^ DuVergne Smith, Nancy. "Billion Prices Project: Introducing real-time economics". MIT. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Economics in central banking: Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon – Billion Prices Project/PriceStats - Central Banking". Central Banking. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  15. ^ Central Banking. "Economics in central banking: Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon – Billion Prices Project/PriceStats". Retrieved 12 June 2018.

External links[edit]