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The Billion Price Project @ MIT : A real-time CPI

December 23, 2010

Inflation, says Rocky, are rising prices for the things that you WANT to buy. Deflation, says Rocky, are declining prices for the things that you DON’T WANT to buy.

Although it uses a more analytically rigorous definition, there are many problems with the government’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). 

It’s exciting to announce that MIT has gone live with it’s “Billion Price Project” (BPP) — which monitors daily prices of 5 million items sold by 300 online retailers!

Here’s the link to the Billion Price Project:  http://bpp.mit.edu/

[Disclosure: It costs the Labor Department $234 million each year to calculate the CPI, and it’s only reported once each month.  For more details, see: http://www.slate.com/id/2278623/ ]

  1. December 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    But do they include steak? Rumor has it that steak was dropped from the CPI a few years ago because it was making the CPI look bad. “Let them eat chicken” said somebody important.

    • December 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      No Charles. That was mis-steak. It was cake.

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