Scanner Data and Price Indexes

Scanner Data and Price Indexes

Robert C. Feenstra and Matthew D. Shapiro

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226239651

Publisher: 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. This book assesses both the promise and the challenges of using scanner data to produce economic statistics. Three chapters in this book 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 chapters 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.

Table of Contents


Robert C. Feenstra and Matthew D.Shapiro

I Scanner Data in Official Statistics

3 Price Collection and Quality Assurance of Item Sampling in the Retail Prices Index

David Fenwick, Adrian Ball, Peter Morgan and Mick Silver

Roundtable Discussion

Dennis Fixler, John S. Greenlees, David Fenwick, Robin Lowe, and Mick Silver

II Aggregation across Time

5 High-Frequency Substitution and the Measurement of Price Indexes

Robert C. Feenstra and Matthew D. Shapiro

III Using Price Data to Study Market Structure

7 What Can the Price Gap between Branded and Private-Label Products Tell Us about Markups?

Robert Barsky, Mark Bergen, Shantanu Dutta, and Daniel Levy

8 The Long Shadow of Patent Expiration

Ernst R. Berndt, Margaret K. Kyle, and Davina C. Ling

IV Measuring Change in Quality and Imputing Missing Observations