Scraped Data and Sticky Prices

Alberto Cavallo

NBER Working Paper No. 21490
Issued in August 2015, Revised in September 2015
NBER Program(s):IFM, ME

This paper introduces Scraped Data as a new source of micro-price information to measure price stickiness. Scraped data, collected from online retailers, have no time averaging or imputed prices that can affect pricing statistics in traditional sources of micro-price data. Using daily prices of 80 thousand products collected in five countries with varying degrees of inflation, including the US, I find that relative to previous findings in the literature, scraped online prices tend to be stickier, with fewer price changes close to zero percent, and with hump-shaped hazard functions that initially increase over time. I show that the sampling characteristics of the data, which minimize measurement biases, explain most of the differences with the literature. Using the cross-section of countries, I also show that only the relative frequency of price increases over decreases correlates with inflation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21490

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