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Understanding Economic Statistics: An OECD Perspective

image of Understanding Economic Statistics: An OECD Perspective

Drawing on OECD statistics in particular, ‘Understanding Economic Statistics: an OECD perspective' shows readers how to use statistics to understand the world economy. It gives an overview of the history, key concepts and the main providers of economic statistics. A detailed chapter provides a comprehensive picture of the main statistical activities of the OECD.  Finally, the book explores the crucial issue of quality assurance and the implications for public trust.

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The Demand for Economic Statistics

The media publish economic data on a daily basis. But who decides which statistics are useful and which are not? Why is housework not included in the national income, and why are financial data available in real time, while to know the number of people in employment analysts have to wait for weeks? Contrary to popular belief, both the availability and the nature of economic statistics are closely linked to developments in economic theory, the requirements of political decision-makers, and each country’s way of looking at itself. In practice, statistics are based on theoretical and interpretative reference models, and if these change, so does the picture the statistics paint of the economic system. Thus, the data we have today represent the supply and demand sides of statistical information constantly attempting to catch up with each other, with both sides being strongly influenced by the changes taking place in society and political life. This chapter offers a descriptive summary of how the demand for economic statistics has evolved from the end of the Second World War to the present, characterised by the new challenges brought about by globalisation and the rise of the services sector.

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