How the pandemic has affected the economy, from empty shelves to higher prices
From the start of the pandemic consumers and retailers have faced shortages in a wide range of goods, from toilet paper to electronics. Economists and policy-makers have highlighted the role that COVID-related supply disruptions can play in fueling price increases.
But so far there has been little empirical evidence documenting the extent of shortages across different categories of consumer goods, and whether they have an impact on retail prices and inflation dynamics.
Our new research looking at large retailers that have both online and bricks-and-mortar stores provides a more fine-grained picture of the nature of product shortages and their association with rising prices.