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How to Use the Database

This page provides examples of how to use the Commodity and Food Elasticities database. Each sample question is followed by the steps necessary to query, view, or download data from the database. Information on the scope of the database, literature sources, the search results, and how to report errors can be found in the Documentation.

Note: This application functions best in Internet Explorer (version 6.0 or later).

Question: Where do I start? I am looking for the price elasticity of cereal in the United States.

The Demand Elasticities from Literature is the place to start. Steps 1 through 4 must be selected in sequential ordering for the database to work. For each new query, you must click "Submit."

Step 1: Choose a country using the drop-down list.  For this example, highlight United States in the Country drop-down list.  A list of commodities that have elasticities in the database for United States will be automatically generated in the Commodity box.  To continue with example, proceed to step 2 and select the commodity from the drop-down list.

Step 2: Select the commodity from the drop-down list.  Only commodities which have available data for that country are in the database.  After selecting the commodity, a list of cross commodities will be automatically generated in the Cross Commodity box. 

Step 3: Select the cross commodities you would like to view by checking the box next to each item, or check "(Select All)" to view all available cross commodities.  All cross commodities are checked by default.  If the cross commodity box is empty, there are no cross price elasticities in the database for the selected country commodity pair.  Only the own price or income elasticity will be presented.  You may choose multiple cross commodities per search, or you may choose none.

Step 4: Select the elasticity view that you would like use.  There are two types of views to use:

  • List elasticities by research study - all elasticities from a specific study are listed together in one column.  The full citation of each study is listed in the second column.
  • List elasticities by commodity - commodities are listed across column headings for comparison.

Once you have made your selections, click the Submit button.

Question: If I am just browsing the query results, what do I need to know about the information that is displayed?

The results are displayed underneath the query box. The large table contains a number of different columns.   The table below is for the selected view "List elasticities by commodity."  This view can be quite wide, depending upon the number of cross-price elasticities.

Column Column title Contents
1 Author Short author description. Click the name in the box; a popup window will open with the full article/report citation
2

Full Citation

The full citation of the research

3 Source of Results The specific table in the article/report containing the elasticity(ies)
4 Publication Date The date the article/report was published or presented
5 Data Type Type of data used: time series, cross-section, or panel data
6-8 Data Period The time frame of the analysis
9 Model, Demand, Property One-word description of the model used, its functional form, and its theoretical properties
10+* * Elasticity numbers from the queried literature

* The number of columns will depend on the individual query, but can potentially include expenditure, income, own-price, and cross-price elasticities.

The results from the selected view for "List elasticities by research study" include an additional column for the full citation of the research study.  This view is more concise, because all of elasticities are listed in one column. The full citation is provided in the second column.  The last three columns provide information for the specific elasticities for the individual research studies.

Column

Column title

Contents

1

Author

Short author description

2

Full Citation

The full citation of the research

3

Source of Results

The specific table in the article/report containing the elasticity(ies)

4

Publication Date

The date the article/report was published or presented

5

Data Type

Type of data used, time series, cross section, or panel data

6

Data Period

The time frame of the analysis

7-9

Model, Demand, Property

One-word description of the model used, its functional form, and its theoretical properties

10

Cross Commodity

Lists the cross commodities and own commodity

11

Elasticity Information

This defines the elasticity as a cross-price, own-price, income, or expenditure elasticity

12

Amount

Elasticity numbers from the queried literature

The last page of the query results contains a smaller table with basic statistical information about the elasticities in the delivered records. For example, here are the statistics for the 13 records for United States, Cereal, and Bread.

Statistics for the 13 records for United States, Cereal, and Bread

Question: What do I do next? How do I print or download the data?

You can download the data in either PDF 16x16 - PDF or Excel 16x16 - Excel format by clicking on the appropriate icon next to "Download This Selection:" underneath the query menu box.  Clicking on "Link" will give you the URL for the query you created, so you may paste it into email or an instant messaging (IM) program for sending.

Last updated: Thursday, July 05, 2012

For more information contact: James Hansen and Nora Brooks

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