Online and Official Price Indexes: Measuring Argentina’s Inflation

39 Pages Posted: 2 May 2012 Last revised: 5 Nov 2012

See all articles by Alberto Cavallo

Alberto Cavallo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: February 27, 2012

Abstract

Prices collected from online retailers can be used to construct high-frequency price indexes that complement official statistics. This paper studies their ability to match official inflation estimates in five Latin American countries, with a focus on Argentina, where official statistics have been criticized in recent years. The data were collected between October 2007 and March 2011 from the largest online supermarkets in each of these countries. Online price indexes approximate both the level and main dynamics of official inflation in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela. By contrast, Argentina’s online annual inflation rate is consistently two to three times higher than in official estimates.

Keywords: Argentina, inflation, scraped online data, online price index

JEL Classification: E31

Suggested Citation

Cavallo, Alberto, Online and Official Price Indexes: Measuring Argentina’s Inflation (February 27, 2012). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4975-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1906704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1906704

Alberto Cavallo (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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