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Alexis Antoniades shares his scanner data expertise at World Bank Seminar

Apr 21, 2016

Alexis Antoniades, Director of International Economics at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), took part in a half day seminar titled The Future of Price Statistics: Innovations in Data, Technology and Methods at World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

Price data play a key role in the statistics needed to measure and inform the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and development policies. The demand for reliable data has prompted research to find alternative ways to collect and disseminate price data.

This half-day seminar brought together leading figures from international institutions, national statistical offices, the private sector, and academia to explore how technological advancements and new data sources and methods can be used to improve price statistics. Dr. Antoniades participated in the first panel of the seminar, titled: “The Data Revolution: New Data Sources, Technology, and Methods” where he shared the advantages as well as challenges of using scanner data.

“All data sets have advantages and disadvantages. We shouldn't ask which the best data set is. Rather, we can ask what we can learn from each data set. I’ve spent a lot of my research time in the past 5-6 years working on how to collect prices, and on what can go wrong in the collection exercise before you even begin using the data, so I want to bring up some of those challenges.”

He concluded that for policy makers and economists, scanner data presents excellent opportunities. “It’s very big data, and it’s good data because we have information not just on price but also on weight. At any point in time within the month we can know the total quantity consumed, as well as get information across retailers, and the price each retailer charges.” Giving an example of scanner data use, he shared previous work on the impact of exchange rate moves on price changes. “In a paper last year we showed that large retailers will pass more of the burden to consumers than smaller retailers.”

The seminar was also followed on live stream by hundreds of viewers, and concluded with a lively discussion on the issues presented by the participants.

Dr. Antoniades shared the panel podium with Haishan Fu, the Director of the World Bank’s Development Data Group, Joe Reisinger, the Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Premise, and Alberto Cavallo, Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Opening Remarks were delivered by Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer at The World Bank and the keynote speech was given by Harvard University President Emeritus, Lawrence Summers.

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