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Category: Big data, open data platforms, web services; prices and costs

Overview:  PriceStats is a leading source of inflation statistics, using online prices to develop daily inflation figures across multiple economic sectors in 70 countries.

Alberto Cavallo and Rigoberto Rigobon at MIT founded PriceStats in September of 2010 as a spin-off of the Billion Prices Project, an academic initiative that leverages online prices to conduct academic research related to inflation and price behavior.   PriceStats currently brings its inflation series to the financial sector through a strategic partnership with State Street Global Markets. State Street distributes PriceStats’ daily inflation updates to their clients through their proprietary website, IR3.

Nature of Data Source: Micro-level data

Unit of Analysis: Prices 

Coverage and Size: 5 million products sold by 700 retailers in 70 countries. Product categories including food and beverage, clothing, housing, recreation, household products, and health.

Key Data Elements: Includes price, product description, product attributes, sale indicator & out of stock indicator; country inflation series contain daily averages of individual price changes across multiple categories and retailers, by sector

Timeframe: 2007 to present

Frequency: Daily

Data Collection Method: PriceStats uses a variety of software to collect price data from online retailers and then uses advanced econometric models to create inflation indices.

Access: Free 10-day lagged US Index. All other indices require subscription via State Street Global Market’s proprietary website IR3. PriceStats also works with organizations on an ad-hoc basis to develop customized tools and statistics that can improve decision making related to public policy or pricing strategies.

Potential Uses for Regional Analysis:The methodology can be applied at the state or MSA level to monitor price trends and provide real-time information on inflation.

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