Meeting brings together at FGV the world’s main specialists in price indices
FGV hosted for the first time the Ottawa Group Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. The event, held on May 8-10, brought together 90 specialists in the calculation of price indices from 40 countries – including Canada, United Kingdom, France, Japan, China, and Mexico – under the auspices of FGV’s Brazilian Institute of Economics (IBRE), in partnership with IBGE.
Vagner Ardeo, Deputy Director of IBRE, stressed the importance of bringing this meeting – which is in its 16th edition – to Brazil. “Just like Christmas for a family, this is the moment when researchers come together to take stock of their experiences and share lessons,” he said. He noted that the quality of the 54 papers presented during the three days of activities has ensured one of the best meetings since 1994, when researchers first met in the Canadian capital, which gives the group its name.
The focus of the exhibits was on how to exploit digital economy opportunities – such as those that can be obtained through the Web, or institutions not previously accessed – to improve pricing. “The opportunity today is to develop techniques to work with large databases, to learn how to handle them, and to extract the most information relevant to the study of price evolution,” explained Ardeo.
André Braz, Coordinator of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of FGV IBRE and one of the organizers of the event, noted that, if well worked, these sources can bring several benefits, such as reducing costs relating to data collection – traditionally carried out based on direct surveys on a sample of households –, greater agility, and accuracy. “The calculation of price indices implies a number of challenges, such as ensuring that products and services are comparable over time, or how to identify the relevance of their consumption in the household budget and changes in what is determinant for the cost of living of households,” he exemplified, stressing the importance of continuous improvement of this activity for the calculation of inflation – common to all economies in the world