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Scanner Data, Elementary Price Indexes and the Chain Drift Problem

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  • Diewert, Erwin

Abstract

Statistical agencies increasingly are able to collect detailed price and quantity information from retailers on sales of consumer products. Thus elementary price indexes (which are indexes constructed at the first stage of aggregation for closely related products) can now be constructed using this price and quantity information, whereas previously, statistical agencies had to construct elementary indexes using just retail outlet collected information on prices alone. Thus superlative indexes can now be constructed at the elementary level, which in theory, should lead to more accurate Consumer Price Indexes. However, retailers frequently sell products at heavily discounted prices, which lead to large increases in purchases of these products. This volatility in prices and quantities will generally lead to a chain drift problem; i.e., when prices return to their “normal†levels, quantities purchased are frequently below their “normal†levels and this leads to a downward drift in a superlative price index. The paper addresses this problem and looks at the likely bias in various index number formulae that are commonly used. The bias estimates are illustrated using some scanner data on the sales of frozen juice products that are available online.

Suggested Citation

  • Diewert, Erwin, 2018. "Scanner Data, Elementary Price Indexes and the Chain Drift Problem," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2018-10, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Oct 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:pmicro:erwin_diewert-2018-10
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    File URL: https://econ2017.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2018/10/pdf_paper_diewert-DP18-06-ScannerDataElementaryPriceetc_oct2018.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Diewert, Erwin, 2019. "Quality Adjustment and Hedonics: A Unified Approach," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2019-2, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 14 Mar 2019.
    2. Abe, Naohito & Rao, D.S.Prasada, 2020. "Generalized Logarithmic Index Numbers with Demand Shocks: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice," RCESR Discussion Paper Series DP20-1, Research Center for Economic and Social Risks, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Jevons; Dutot; Carli; Unit Value; Laspeyres; Paasche;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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