Re-engineering Key National Economic Indicators

71 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 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: July 15, 2019

Abstract

Traditional methods of collecting data from businesses and households face increasing challenges. These include declining response rates to surveys, increasing costs to traditional modes of data collection, and the difficulty of keeping pace with rapid changes in the economy. The digitization of virtually all market transactions offers the potential for re-engineering key national economic indicators. The challenge for the statistical system is how to operate in this data-rich environment. This paper focuses on the opportunities for collecting item-level data at the source and constructing key indicators using measurement methods consistent with such a data infrastructure. Ubiquitous digitization of transactions allows price and quantity be collected or aggregated simultaneously at the source. This new architecture for economic statistics creates challenges arising from the rapid change in items sold. The paper explores some recently proposed techniques for estimating price and quantity indices in large-scale item-level data. Although those methods display tremendous promise, substantially more research is necessary before they will be ready to serve as the basis for the official economic statistics. Finally, the paper addresses implications for building national statistics from transactions for data collection and for the capabilities and organization of the statistical agencies in the 21st century.

JEL Classification: C81,C82,E31

Suggested Citation

Ehrlich, Gabriel and Haltiwanger, John C. and Jarmin, Ron S. and Johnson, David and Shapiro, Matthew D., Re-engineering Key National Economic Indicators (July 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3427429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3427429

Gabriel Ehrlich

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

110 Tappan Hall
855 S. University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

John C. Haltiwanger (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3504 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ron S. Jarmin

U.S. Census Bureau ( email )

4700 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
United States

David Johnson

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Matthew D. Shapiro

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

and Survey Research Center
611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States
313-764-5419 (Phone)
313-764-2769 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
313-764-5419 (Phone)
313-764-2769 (Fax)

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