Fed Nominee-to-be Judy Shelton responds to her issues with government statistics (Long, Davies, WaPo):
In a series of e-mails, Shelton defended her views, saying that she remains “skeptical about the accurancy and consistency” of economic statistics because they do not always capture technological innovation accurately. She added that “we need to be sure that data used for policy-making decision is accurate and appropriate.”
However from the context of her 2015 talk (see tape, at 1:07:07) it’s pretty clear from how she responded to the question, she thought the government statistics were understating inflation. Yet her supposedly exculpatory statement regarding technological innovations is consistent with an enormous literature that addresses concerns that government price statistics overstate inflation (review, Boskin Commission; more recently in digital context, see here). In other words, I still get the impression that Dr. Shelton disbelieves the government statistics because, well, they’re government statistics, and not because of any deeply held convictions regarding hedonic adjustments for quality, etc. in the CPI or other price indices. (A Google Scholar search fails to detect any Shelton writing on quality/measurement issues and deflators and/or productivity statistics).
An interesting paper on the subject of incorporating digital products into the national accounts, by Brynjolfsson et al. (2019).