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Scanner Data and Price Indexes

Publication Abstract

Shapiro, Matthew D. 2003. Scanner Data and Price Indexes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Every time you buy a can of tuna or a new television, its bar code is scanned to record its price and other information. These "scanner data" offer a number of attractive features for economists and statisticians, because they are collected continuously, are available quickly, and record prices for all items sold, not just a statistical sample. But scanner data also present a number of difficulties for current statistical systems.

Scanner Data and Price Indexes assesses both the promise and the challenges of using scanner data to produce economic statistics. Three papers present the results of work in progress at statistical agencies in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Canada, including a project at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to investigate the feasibility of incorporating scanner data into the monthly Consumer Price Index. Other papers demonstrate the enormous potential of using scanner data to test economic theories and estimate the parameters of economic models, and provide solutions for some of the problems that arise when using scanner data, such as dealing with missing data.

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