On 21 October 2014, the Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the Keynote Lecture by MIT Professor Roberto Rigobon on the "Big data" phenomenon entitled "Economic indicators and new technologies; challenges for the future".
Roberto Rigobon is the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Applied Economics at MIT Business School. He is active in leading academic institutions such as the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Census Bureau's Scientific Advisory Committee and has received numerous honours and awards throughout his long and prolific academic and research career.
Professor Rigobon received his PhD in Economics from MIT in 1997, holds an MBA from IESA and a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Universidad Simón Bolívar. His main areas of research are international economics, monetary economics and development economics. In particular, he has researched the causes of financial crises and balance of payments imbalances. More recently, he has focused his attention on the "Big Data" phenomenon, in particular its application to economic analysis.
In this field he founded the Billion Prices Project and PriceStats with a view to analysing the processes of international price formation and determining alternative measures of inflation to the traditional ones. Its aim is to provide better than official world inflation statistics by measuring inflation on a daily basis. Its methodology does not consist of processing price information at the point of sale, but of obtaining this information directly from distributors via their websites.
The potential of this methodology, in the midst of the technological revolution and global connectivity, is enormous. It is possible to use the data obtained to improve knowledge of the behaviour of economic agents, predict the evolution of macroeconomic variables, etc.