Jan 17

Ein neuer Beitrag von Walter Radermacher über die Zukunft der amtlichen Statistik in einer digitalen globalisierten Gesellschaft

Why should there still be a need for elaborate official statistics in the future?

The second discussion will center around statements taken from an article by Walter Radermacher ‘Governing-by-the-numbers / Statistical Governance Reflections on the future of official statistics in a digital and globalised society’, published in the December 2019 issue (Vol 35, number 4). You are invited to discuss the main or detailed statement(s).

‘Governing-by-the-numbers / Statistical Governance Reflections on the future of official statistics in a digital and globalised society’ by Walter Radermacher can beread here: https://content.iospress.com/articles/statistical-journal-of-the-iaos/sji190562

Main statement for discussion:

Data are given – Facts are produced

In the long run, trust in official statistics can only be maintained based on a continual striving for the best quality, with leadership based on profound knowledge of the business and with customer orientation as the supreme orientation. This implies that statistical products must meet the expectations of users in their design, production and communication.

Other subsidiary statements to be discussed are:

Between a data gold-rush and the death of truth

Official statistics will be under attack either by discussions on trust or by competition from statistics produced with lower quality. For official statisticians to be needed in the future, they have to be more than just data engineers. They must know the DNA of their business and use their capital (especially their know-how and internationally agreed methodological standards) to develop a market-oriented strategy. Official statistics has to be policy-relevant without being driven by politics.

Civil society’s role

Civil society should be more closely involved in official statistics, be it through participation in indicator design processes, through crowd-sourcing of data or as a partner in communication.

The power of numbers will increase dynamically with new data sources and technologies, which calls for an informational governance at both national and international level. Official statistics can and must claim a decisive role in this governance. A global organisation of professional statisticians anchored in civil society should develop a suitable indicator to measure and monitor the independence and integrity of statistics in individual countries.

Closing the scientific gap

There is a lack of scientific research, suitable textbooks and qualified training courses for official statistics. A scientifically founded, conceptual operationalisation of statistical processes, be it in data collection, national accounts or the generation of indicators, requires more than the knowledge of specific statistical methods or data sciences. Rather, aspects from other fields, such as sociology, historical, or legal disciplines have to be taken on board. There are many different strands of science contributing to research on processes of quantification and the impact of quantification within social contexts.