Minding Your Ps and Qs: Going from Micro to Macro in Measuring Prices and Quantities

20 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019 Last revised: 5 Feb 2019

See all articles by Gabriel Ehrlich

Gabriel Ehrlich

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

John Haltiwanger

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Ron S. Jarmin

U.S. Census Bureau

David Johnson

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Matthew D. Shapiro

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

Key macro indicators such as output, productivity, and inflation are based on a complex system across multiple statistical agencies using different samples and different levels of aggregation. The Census Bureau collects nominal sales, the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects prices, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis constructs nominal and real GDP using these data and other sources. The price and quantity data are integrated at a high level of aggregation. This paper explores alternative methods for re-engineering key national output and price indices using item-level data. Such re-engineering offers the promise of greatly improved key economic indicators along many dimensions.

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Suggested Citation

Ehrlich, Gabriel and Haltiwanger, John C. and Jarmin, Ron S. and Johnson, David and Shapiro, Matthew D., Minding Your Ps and Qs: Going from Micro to Macro in Measuring Prices and Quantities (January 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25465. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3319691

Gabriel Ehrlich (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

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John C. Haltiwanger

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Ron S. Jarmin

U.S. Census Bureau ( email )

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David Johnson

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

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Matthew D. Shapiro

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

and Survey Research Center
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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313-764-2769 (Fax)

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