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Cavallo, Alberto, and Roberto Rigobon (2016) "The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research" - Journal of Economic Perspectives , Vol 30(2):151-78, Spring 2016.
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New data-gathering techniques, often referred to as "Big Data" have the potential to improve statistics and empirical research in economics. In this paper we describe our work with online data at the Billion Prices Project at MIT and discuss key lessons for both inflation measurement and some fundamental research questions in macro and international economics. In particular, we show how online prices can be used to construct daily price indexes in multiple countries and to avoid measurement biases that distort evidence of price stickiness and international relative prices. We emphasize how Big Data technologies are providing macro and international economists with opportunities to stop treating the data as given and to get directly involved with data collection.
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