Using Wait Time to Predict Inflation

53 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2024

See all articles by Andras Danis

Andras Danis

Central European University (CEU)

Daniel A. Rettl

University of Georgia - Department of Banking and Finance

Date Written: June 12, 2024

Abstract

We examine the relation between customer wait time and future prices using cellphone location data. We focus on restaurants in the U.S. over 2019–2021 and document a stark increase in abnormal wait time starting in mid-2020. The increase happens relatively early in the pandemic and does not revert back to the pre-pandemic level through the end of the sample period. Increases in abnormal wait time predict the food-away-from-home component of the CPI, even after controlling for common predictors of inflation. Our results suggest that it might be possible to improve inflation forecasting using cellphone location data.

Keywords: JEL classification: E31, L83, D63 Inflation, Restaurants, COVID-19, Wait Time, Shortage

Suggested Citation

Danis, Andras and Rettl, Daniel A., Using Wait Time to Predict Inflation (June 12, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4863088 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4863088

Andras Danis (Contact Author)

Central European University (CEU) ( email )

Quellenstrasse 51
Vienna, Lower-Austria and Wien 1100
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.andrasdanis.com

Daniel A. Rettl

University of Georgia - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Terry College of Business
Athens, GA 30602-6253
United States

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