Initiatives and Related Projects
Some practical applications of our research
Inflacion Verdadera Argentina
A daily inflation index for Argentina. Published from 2007 to 2018 as an alternative to the official CPI which was manipulated by the government during the period 2007-2016. This is how we first started using online prices to measure inflation.
Inflacion Verdadera Venezuela
Our latest project using mobile phones and crowd-sourcing to measure Venezuela’s inflation rate
An attempt to validate online data and better understand how offline pricing behaviors are being affected by the web and mobile browsing/price‐checking technologies.
PriceStats Daily Inflation and PPP Statistics
PriceStats is the company that collects the online prices used by the BPP. It currently publishes daily inflation and PPP indices in over 20 countries. Click here for a historical comparison of the US Online Index and the CPI.
What we do
The Billion Prices Project is an academic initiative that uses prices collected from hundreds of online retailers around the world on a daily basis to conduct research in macro and international economics. It was founded in 2008 by Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon. This page shows our most recent research and links to related projects.
More than 1000
Countries with Data
From 2008 on
Current team members
News and Media
For nine years, from 2007 to 2015, the Argentine government manipulated economic statistics in an attempt to fool the public into believing inflation was lower than it actually was. Citizens, however, didn’t buy it. In fact, they showed a remarkable aptitude for seeing through the claims.
Organisations like the Bank and the Office for National Statistics can now draw on exponentially more data to produce their assessments of how the country is performing.
The goal of mapping economic activity in real time, just as we do for weather or traffic, is “closer than ever to being within our grasp”, according to Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist.
PriceStats, based on MIT’s Billion Prices Project, takes a daily temperature using online sales.
Mining digital information for accurate, up-to-date economic snapshots could help officials make quicker and better decisions
Economics in central banking: Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon – Billion Prices Project/PriceStats – Central Banking
Through a vast and ongoing data-collecting exercise, PriceStats has helped central banks overcome many of the drawbacks inherent in traditional inflation series.
The growth of e-commerce is well understood, tracking the smartphone’s ubiquity and a global supply chain that delivers consumer goods quickly and cheaply. Its impact on inflation—the so-called Amazon effect—is still being explored by economists.
In public debates about economic policy, it can be hard to separate real insights from political posturing. But a few simple rules of thumb can help.
The recent financial crisis, and the euro area sovereign debt crisis that followed, were characterised by periods of increased heterogeneity, market fragmentation and sudden turns in economic activity. This often made it difficult for economic policymakers to understand and assess in real time the underlying forces driving economic behaviour. Both traditional statistical datasets and our
-> Continue reading Policy analysis with big data -ECB Press
Alberto Cavallo ajudou a elaborar uma pesquisa de preços on-line e criou portal que mede as variações na Argentina e Venezuela .
La inflación venezolana es de tal magnitud que da para experimentos. En el Instituto Tecnológico de Massachussets, en Estados Unidos, comenzaron uno hace tres meses: medir la inflación, esa que descose los bolsillos de los ciudadanos, con ayuda de los mismos que la padecen.
The purchasing power of one dollar is worth more online, according to software company Adobe’s Digital Price Index, which looked at online and offline spending. If consumers had shifted all of their offline spending last year to online, that difference would have meant saving about $2.2 billion, it estimated.
New price data from Adobe Systems Inc., released today, show that online increased its price advantage vs. offline over the past two years. Logically speaking, though, the gap can’t keep widening forever. And there are some hints in the data that online’s edge is already—well, not going away, but approaching its limit.
Big Data se define como la masividad de datos producidos por interacciones electrónicas a través de teléfonos celulares, transacciones online o redes sociales. Lleva el nombre de “big” por la enorme cantidad de datos que se generan a partir de las interacciones electrónicas entre personas.
En épocas en las que la Argentina atravesaba el “apagón estadístico”, con cifras oficiales adulteradas sobre inflación, pobreza o PBI, el sitio InflaciónVeradera.com fue una referencia para determinar la evolución real de los precios de la economía.
Do you know your country’s current inflation rate? What do you think it will be in the future? And how do you, personally, try to plan your finances accordingly?
Those are important questions for economists and policymakers, because central bankers generally assess future expectations of inflation when setting interest rates.
Tomorrow’s Prices – An interview with Alberto Cavallo on why consumers have such a hard time thinking about inflation – AEA Web
We see prices every day. Whether we are grocery shopping, going to the movies, or filling up our cars with gas, we notice the prices of what we buy and how they change over time.
Adrian Ash, of BullionVault, writes exclusively for What Investment on the outlook for the gold price as inflation and interest rates rise.
Alongside Russia-US tensions and crisis-driven spikes in the oil price, suddenly inflation is back making headlines.
Everyone knew something was wrong. Between 2007 and 2011, the Argentine government claimed inflation was running at an average of 8 per cent but the numbers did not tally with what households were experiencing.
Statistics imply that real wages may be falling by 0.6% annually – compared with the 0.9% growth rate indicated by official data.
Prices in the UK are now rising at an annual rate of more than 3% in the latest evidence of economic fallout from the EU referendum, according to figures seen by Sky News.
In the dying days of 2015 came news to set any geek’s pulse racing: the declaration of a “statistical emergency” by Mauricio Macri, the new president of Argentina. Macri’s move enabled Jorge Todesca, head of the statistics bureau, to suspend publication of some basic economic data.
Online shopping is supposed to be a click away from bargains and cheap goods, but this is all a myth, says new research.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of 10 countries, including South Africa, has shown that most firms sell their products at the…
The Trump administration has some very optimistic economic targets. It should resist messing with the statistics.
The Soviet Union had a reputation for presenting fake economic statistics to the world, in order to avoid having its dysfunctional system look…
In an average of 72 percent of the cases, there is no price advantage to shop online instead of in the shop – or vice versa. This is the result of a recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after analyzing online and offline prices in ten countries.
Alberto Cavallo, Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, explains how online and offline prices compare. Everyone has their own personal opinion, but Prof. Cavallo and his team wanted to collect data in a large number of countries to answer the question with objective evidence.
(Newsroom America) — When you buy products online, do you imagine you could get better prices in a store? Conversely, does in-store shopping lead you to wonder whether you are missing better prices online?
Inflation is an average. Prices in some areas are growing quickly, while others fall. That’s the way it has to be in a broadly diversified economy. The broadest measure of inflation – the personal consumption deflator – measures everything that consumers buy, and weights it by how much, then spend on those items.
Como esta tecnología ofrece un gran volumen de datos, pero poca información sobre un aspecto particular, se demoró su adopción
“Cuando tenés un martillo todos los problemas se parecen a un clavo”, reza la así llamada ley del instrumento, enunciada por el filósofo americano Abraham Maslow allá por los sesenta en relación a la sobreconfianza en una herramienta, ya sea porque el analista invirtió demasiado en ella o porque está de moda.
Data is finance’s new currency, healthcare’s latest wonder drug, and the energy sector’s new oil.
Another day, another Big Data analogy.
All of the hype doesn’t change the fact that businesses across nearly every industry are gaining competitive advantage by extracting value from large datasets.
Alberto Cavallo y Robert Rigobon, economistas del MIT, comenzaron con la web Inflación Verdadera tras la intervención del Indec, pero ahora estiman la suba de precios todos los días en más de 60 países.
La intervención del Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (Indec) produjo un giro académico para dos economistas a más de 8.500 kilómetros de distancia.
Big Data es una de esos conceptos que suenan muy bien pero que son muy complejos y requieren de amplios conocimientos para su aplicación. Por eso, MIT Y Avanxo se unieron para traer Big Data, Shaping the Future of Latin America a Bogotá el 26 de mayo.
Common sense isn’t so common when retail is still experiencing its fair share of upheavals from each new disruptor to make it to market, but the decade-plus of online and in-store retail operating side by side has established a few new ground rules that almost everyone can agree on.
Online prices are generally the same as prices in the store, survey finds
If you’re a bargain hunter, it’s common to spend time researching prices before making purchases. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy a washing machine at your local Lowes store only to find a lower price offered on Lowes.com.
Devoted shoppers may spend hours hunting for bargains online. But new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds that much of the time — about 72%, in fact — prices are identical to those in stores.
Earlier this month, Argentina issued $16.5 billion in bonds in the largest emerging market debt deal on record, effectively returning to international capital markets for the first time after a following a plague of defaults over the past 15 years under the Christina Kirchner administration.
Many shoppers assume that online prices are lower than in-store prices. However, a recent study by MIT Sloan Prof. Alberto Cavallo found that prices are actually identical about 72% of the time for products sold both online and offline.
MIT Sloan study reveals information of use to consumers and economists
Sure, online shopping is generally more convenient than going to the store for your purchases, but prices are pretty much the same three quarters of the time, according to a new MIT study.
Technically Incorrect: An MIT professor conducts a worldwide analysis of prices online and off. The results might surprise some.
Amazon has educated me in so many ways.It’s taught me that the “Lord of the Flies” was an excellent management book.It’s also taught me to believe that online prices are cheaper than those in stores.
You find lower prices online than at bricks-and-mortar stores, right? Wrong.
Alberto Cavallo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology displayed resourcefulness and ingenuity by producing a wide-scale international comparison of online and offline prices at “brick-and-motar” stores.
Coles shoppers are paying a hefty premium on some groceries when they shop online and use the supermarket’s supposedly free “click and collect” service or home delivery.
Fairfax Media compared in-store and online prices on 10 popular brand label items at Coles and found eight of them were 10 per cent more expensive for online shoppers.
Shopping online is cheaper right? Think again. Big data has helped challenge that conventional wisdom.
Alberto Cavallo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has undertaken a huge, international comparison of the “online and offline” prices charged by big retailers.
You find lower prices online than at bricks-and-mortar stores, right? Wrong.
Alberto Cavallo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology displayed resourcefulness and ingenuity by producing a wide-scale international comparison of online and offline prices.
Public debt in a court of (dumb) law
The parallels between Greece and Puerto Rico, which we have noted before, continue to evolve, but now a political dimension has been added to the economic one. The economic problem has to do with the combination of a public debt overhang and a shrinking population and economy.