The unequal gains from product innovations
This project explores the relationship between consumption inequality and innovation. It asks whether economic inequality affects the kind of innovation that takes place and who benefits from that innovation. Using scanner data, the researcher’s preliminary findings show that the difference in inflation rates across the income distribution can be accurately measured only with product-level data, not by simply reweighting aggregate price series based on income-specific spending shares, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does. The findings could therefore have methodological as well as policy implications.