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Developments in European Statistics

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Developments in European Statistics by Walter Radermacher, 27.07.2009

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Developments in European Statistics

  1. 1. Developments in European Statistics Challenges in Official Statistics Walter Radermacher, Chief Statistician of the European Union, Director General Eurostat
  2. 2. Robert M. Pirsig: Zen or the art of motorcycle maintenance
  3. 3. <ul><li>Statistics and the German State, 1900–1945: the making of modern economic knowledge, Tooze, J.A., Cambridge, 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>The Politics of Large Numbers – A History of Statistical Reasoning, Desrosières, A., Cambridge, Mass./ London 1998 </li></ul>
  4. 4. Statistics: a short history in 4 political steps <ul><li>„ Statistics“ is the empirical branch of the science of state (German: Statistik – > Staatswissenschaften) </li></ul><ul><li>Official statistics (political/administrative position, working methods) reflect the development of societies in particular the specific relationship between state and citizens </li></ul><ul><li>Some factors create different political settings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constitution (democratic, authoritative) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional set-up of economy (market, planification) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Society (closed/national, globalised) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main sectors of economic production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dynamics of structural change (slow, fast) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Statistic users and producers: Interactions Users of statistics Producers of statistics information need use knowledge statistical information statistical data + metadata work system conducting of processes, provision of products and services <ul><li>discussion / definition </li></ul><ul><li>perception patterns </li></ul><ul><li>programmes </li></ul><ul><li>products </li></ul>communication
  6. 6. Information needs Statistics Public Opinion Science Politics Institutional setup How are they defined?
  7. 7. Statistics in a pre-democratic society <ul><li>State = authority = single constituent = single user </li></ul><ul><li>Information needs defined by request of king or alternative authority </li></ul><ul><li>First Statistical „Authorities“ as institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Slow change processes (industrialisation) </li></ul><ul><li>Development of work system with a small scientific loading </li></ul><ul><li>Production in special processes; survey (obligatory response) based on authority of statistical institution </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination dominated by the user „State“, general publications as by-product </li></ul>
  8. 8. Statistics in a “young” democracy / national state <ul><li>State = authority = premium constituent = premium user </li></ul><ul><li>Information needs defined by request of government and/or parliament after consultation of stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Statistical Institutes are “Cinderella” authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Relatively slow change processes (industrialisation) </li></ul><ul><li>Development of work system with a higher scientific loading </li></ul><ul><li>Production in special processes; survey (obligatory response) based on authority of statistical institution </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination dominated by the user „State“, general publications as standard and equivalent product </li></ul>
  9. 9. Statistics in an authoritarian regime <ul><li>State = authority = single constituent = single user </li></ul><ul><li>Information needs defined by request of government </li></ul><ul><li>Statistical Institute with high importance but low independency </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on planification </li></ul><ul><li>Development of work system with a very high scientific loading </li></ul><ul><li>Production in special processes; survey (obligatory response) based on authority of statistical institution </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination oriented to the interests of the regime; impartiality not an issue </li></ul>
  10. 10. Statistics in a democracy / global info society <ul><li>State is one user as all others (“citizens first”) </li></ul><ul><li>Information needs defined in a dynamic and complex interaction (open platforms etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Statistical “Services” </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid change processes, horizontal issues, cross-national phenomena </li></ul><ul><li>Development of work system with a very high scientific loading </li></ul><ul><li>Production in integrated processes; surveys limited to areas without existing data </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination = Communication = public good “Statistics” </li></ul>
  11. 11. The art of finding an adequate working system Actuality Comparability Response burden Accuracy Efficiency Relevance
  12. 12. Convention and Measurement <ul><li>Statistical information - by definition - is produced based on conventions which manifest an agreement between user and producer regarding the parameters, methods and definitions of the working system </li></ul><ul><li>In Official Statistics the convention has to be based on the information needs of the democratic society and it has to be made public (e.g. a UN Standard) </li></ul><ul><li>In European Official Statistics the convention is fixed by a legal act / decision </li></ul><ul><li>Professional independence in development, production and dissemination of official statistics is embedded in this framework of conventions </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the early 1950s: The harmonisation of methods was the foundation of European statistics </li></ul><ul><li>Rome Treaty on the European Economic Community (EEC) marked the birth of European legislation on statistics, for which the basis is laid in Art. 213 (subsequently Art. 284) => “Gentlemen's agreements“ </li></ul><ul><li>Since the 1990s, European policies directly based on statistics (e.g. convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty ) </li></ul><ul><li>The NSIs collect and produce harmonised data that are compiled by Eurostat to construct statistics at EU level. The approach continued to be &quot;augmented&quot;: the European level was added to the national level </li></ul>European Statistics
  14. 14. European Statistical System ESS <ul><li>Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on European Statistics </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthens the cooperation in the ESS, in particular </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cost-effectiveness-principle (Art. 2 (f)), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the European Statistical System Committee (Art. 7), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collaborative networks (Art. 15.), and a </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>European approach to statistics (Art. 16). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Generally, a next phase for official statistics in Europe has been initiated, in which the intentions of the law, namely to put in place a real &quot;system&quot; that makes use of cooperation and standardisation as far as possible while respecting the subsidiarity principle have to be realised. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Elements of the ESS <ul><li>ESS Committee (ESSC) </li></ul><ul><li>European Statistical Advisory Committee (ESAC) </li></ul><ul><li>European Statistical Governance Advisory Board (ESGAB) </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership Group </li></ul><ul><li>Directors Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Comitolgy and advisory committees </li></ul><ul><li>ESSnets </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsorships </li></ul><ul><li>DGINS and other conferences </li></ul>
  16. 16. Organisational structure of the ESS ESSC
  17. 17. Situation of Statistical Offices <ul><li>Need to reduce costs and increase efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing demands for statistical products and reduction of respondent’s burden </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements in quality are needed </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging user needs </li></ul><ul><li>Progress in information technology </li></ul>
  18. 18. Starting points for a solution: Efficiency!! <ul><li>Standardisation of processes (CVD-approach) </li></ul><ul><li>Re-use of available data (administrative sources, online link to business accounting and other instruments of eGovernment, …) </li></ul><ul><li>Common infrastructure (registers, meta-data, geo-spatial information) </li></ul><ul><li>Meta-data driven architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative networks, common tools and knowledge sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralised centralisation of production in shared webs </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  19. 19. Reengineering of statistical production 1:1 Stovepipes Multiple Source Mix Mode Survey Table Survey Table Survey Table Survey Table Survey Survey Register Register Survey Data Ware- houses Macrodata Access Microdata Mesodata
  20. 20. The new architecture: a vision GIS Business register Meta-data Entry Processing Analysis Primary surveys Administrative data repository ERP System Sample Selection External registers External registers Communication Processes Infrastructure Input Output
  21. 21. European systems method of statistics <ul><li>An integrated model for statistics in Europe: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>horizontal integration across statistical domains at the level of NSIs and Eurostat, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and vertical integration covering both the national and EU levels. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improving efficiency by elimination of unnecessary variation and duplication of work </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of free capacities for upcoming information needs </li></ul>
  22. 22. Change in the professional paradigm <ul><li>From &quot;data-collectors&quot; to &quot;re-users of data&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Risks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>concepts and definitions may be changed by the owners of the data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>data collections could be discontinued or altered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a loss of control (at least in the perception of statisticians) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>higher complexity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reallocation of R&D in statistics needed </li></ul>
  23. 23. Technical and methodological challenges <ul><li>Standardisation and integration of formerly separated production processes will demand great efforts and an effective change management. </li></ul><ul><li>Stepwise approach and with intensive collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Quality assessment + assurance of statistics will become much more complex </li></ul><ul><li>The legitimate interest of statistics, i.e. the position vis-à-vis the owners of re-used data (administrators, regulators or others) has to be reconsidered and strengthened </li></ul>
  24. 24. New ways of communicating with users <ul><li>The more statistical production is based on complex methodology the more it is necessary to explain the results. </li></ul><ul><li>Trust in the statistical system and the perception of the quality of statistical information are closely related. </li></ul><ul><li>„ Official“ has to become a quality stamp that users can assess against predefined quality guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>A basic education in simple statistical elements could help to mitigate a tendency of misunderstanding with the general public (“innumeracy”). </li></ul><ul><li>As a consequence, user orientation has to be the guiding principle in communication. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Thank you for your attention! [email_address] http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/