COVID-19 and Official Statistics: A Wakeup Call?
20 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021
Date Written: February 12, 2021
As COVID-19 spread globally, fast political decisions and the implementation of drastic measures were necessary to slow down proliferation and counter the economic disruption. The demand for broad, timely, high-frequency statistics about economic and health developments surged. At the same time, the pandemic outpaced the frequency at which most conventional statistics become available. Unconventional data helped to bridge these time lags, and to supply information on aspects of society not suitably covered by traditional official statistics, but that the need of the day suddenly made prominent for decision makers. The lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is that greater preparedness and flexibility in facing “future unknowns” is essential. Enabling users of statistics to quickly tap on data dimensions and relationships needed for their decisions when confronted with exceptional circumstances, is essential for guaranteeing salience and, ultimately, trustworthiness of official statistics.
Keywords: high frequency statistics, data access, official statistics
JEL Classification: C82, F60
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation