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The Boston Globe


A government agent, on the prowl for inflation

Dan Dugan appears without warning at ­supermarkets, auto lots, and funeral homes across Eastern Massachusetts, a government agent with a thick black computer tucked under his arm and a veil of secrecy surrounding his work. His mission: Track the prices of hundreds of items, from apples to used cars to caskets.

Dugan is an economic assistant at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and he works on inflation’s front line, collecting information used to calculate the Consumer Price Index, the best-known gauge of inflation.

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