In economics, price dispersion refers to the price difference of a homogeneous good across different vendors. According to Baye06 The empirical evidence suggests that price dispersion in both online and offline markets is sizeable, pervasive, and persistent. Not surprisingly, there exist several popular web commerce sites such as Froogle that enable users to track consumer pricing information in online markets. In this paper, we present our vision that participatory sensing can be employed to track price dispersion in homogeneous consumer goods even in offline markets. We explore this vision and outline the systems challenges in the context of two proof-of-concept systems we have built that leverage participatory sensing with mobile camera phones: (1) automating fuel price collection, and (2) semi-automated scanning of receipts.
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