谷歌利用网络价格数据衡量通胀 Google to measure inflation by using web data
Google is using its vast database of web shopping data to construct the ‘Google Price Index’ – a daily measure of inflation that could one day provide an alternative to official statistics.
谷歌(google)正利用其庞大的网络购物数据构建“谷歌价格指数”(Google Price Index)——这个每日通胀衡量指数有朝一日可能会提供官方统计数据之外的另一个参考。
The work by Google’s chief economist, Hal Varian, highlights how economic data can be gathered far more rapidly using online sources. The official Consumer Price Index data are collected by hand from shops, and only published monthly with a time lag of several weeks.
At the National Association of Business Economists conference in Denver, Colorado, Mr Varian said that the GPI was a work in progress and Google had not yet decided whether to publish it.
在科罗拉多州丹佛市召开的全美企业经济学家协会(National Association of Business Economists)会议上，瓦里安表示，谷歌价格指数还在日臻完善的过程中，而且谷歌尚未决定是否会将其发布。
While the Federal Reserve is unlikely to panic just yet, Mr Varian said that the GPI shows a “very clear deflationary trend” for web-traded goods in the US since Christmas. Although the data are not seasonally adjusted, Mr Varian said that prices rose during the same period a year ago. The ‘core’ CPI in the US, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.9 per cent on a year ago in August.
尽管美联储(Fed)可能还不用感到恐慌，但瓦里安表示，谷歌价格指数显示，自去年圣 诞以来，美国网购商品价格出现“非常清晰的通缩趋势”。虽然数据尚未经过季节调整，但瓦里安称，一年之前的同期内，价格是呈现上升趋势的。8月份美国“核 心”CPI（不包含食品与能源价格）同比增长0.9%。
“It’s a quite different picture if you go to the UK where you see a slight inflationary trend,” Mr Varian said. He attributed the rise in the UK GPI to the weakness of sterling.
Mr Varian emphasised that the GPI is not a direct replacement for the CPI because the mix of goods that are sold on the web is different to the mix in the wider economy. Housing accounts for about 40 per cent of the US CPI, for example, but only 18 per cent of the GPI.
The GPI shows a “pretty good correlation” with the CPI for goods such as cameras and watches that are often sold on the web, but less so for others, such as car parts, that are infrequently traded online.