Do We Need Google To Measure Inflation?
Economists are creating new methods for tracking prices.
Ultimately, there is a good argument for more inflation measures, not just better or newer ones. The government already calculates a number of rates of inflation to give a fuller picture of price changes, the value of money, and the economy. Most notably, the BLS publishes a "core inflation" number, a measure of inflation outside volatile food and energy prices. There are dozens of other measures, as well. The new Web-based yardsticks provide even more alternatives and opportunities to examine the accuracy of the CPI—and to make new findings. That means, for now, those detective-like government rubes painstakingly checking prices on clipboards get to stay in work.
Annie Lowrey, formerly Slate’s Moneybox columnist, is economic policy reporter for the New York Times.
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