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"The measurement and statistical issues Professor Denise Lievesley Head of School of Social Science and Public Policy, Kings College London and Chair,

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Presentation on theme: ""The measurement and statistical issues Professor Denise Lievesley Head of School of Social Science and Public Policy, Kings College London and Chair,"— Presentation transcript:

1 "The measurement and statistical issues Professor Denise Lievesley Head of School of Social Science and Public Policy, Kings College London and Chair, European Statistical Advisory Committee 1Brussels Jan 2012

2 What you measure matters 2Brussels Jan 2012

3 Welcome the initiatives GDP and beyond We already have a rich array of data describing the social circumstances of our populations Over-attention on economic variables to the exclusion of others Over-attention on nation as unit of analysis Brussels Jan 20123

4 Evidence that inequalities within our societies are growing, exacerbated by the recessions Leading to disruption and insecurity Countries with the greatest homogeneity achieve the most Brussels Jan 20124

5 Concern about an unrelenting pursuit of growth At the expense of the poorest And of the environment (the two are interconnected) Behoves us to give visibility to the disenfranchised in our societies Brussels Jan 20125

6 Quality of data Currency and punctuality Relevance to policy Potential for disaggregation Coherence across sources Clarity and transparency Consistency over time and space Validity and reliability Validity and reliability Comparability through standards Accessibility and affordability Efficient use of resources 6

7 Purposes of cross-national data To learn from one another (contrast and similarity) For purposes of national accountability (the indicator movement) To build a greater global understanding through comparison and through multiple instances of the same phenomena To aggregate across national boundaries for a regional or global picture To accelerate progress through sharing resources To make research more credible/ defensible recognising that research which displeases is attacked rather than accepted To distance the research from the political process (tension – policy relevance v. autonomy) Brussels Jan 20127

8 Challenges to comparability Language Culture Social systems and structure Administrative systems Ideology and politics Economics and resources Context – events Different methodologies and types of methodological expertise (often deeply ingrained)

9 Shared national initiatives or a European initiative? Comparative by design Compiling national data in a European framework (post-hoc comparability) Both? Brussels Jan 20129

10 Importance of partnership between the official statisticians and a broader user community Building trust – a prerequisite for the collection and use of data Advocating for the resources Sharing data – not all collected by official agencies Creating expertise, adding value Communicating the data (even if they are uncomfortable for our governments Building statistically literate communities Brussels Jan

11 Ideal scenario Long term partnerships of both users and producers of research who Select topics pertinent to their situations and policy needs Work together to develop common definitions and instruments Combine the deep understanding of the local and the perspicacity of the stranger Brussels Jan

12 Under-exploitation of existing data There is growing awareness that failure to exploit the full potential of data has costs for society and many institutions and agencies now espouse the aim of ensuring that data are used as extensively as possible. The International Statistical Institutes declaration on professional ethics states that A principle of all scientific work is that it should be open to scrutiny, assessment and possible validation by fellow scientists. Brussels Jan

13 Publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest. As such they should remain in the public realm. Availability should be restricted only by legitimate considerations of national security restrictions; protection of confidentiality and privacy; intellectual property rights; and time-limited exclusive use by principal investigators. Data grow in value the more they are used, unlike most commodities which are diminished with use. Brussels Jan

14 Better utilisation of what we have Fresh data collection takes time and resources Current financial constraints are impacting upon our ability to collect new data Secondary data analysis can take place in resource–constrained (including a time- constrained) environment Compliance costs important especially in small countries and in surveys of elites, businesses, institutions Brussels Jan

15 Conclusion Welcome this EESC hearing Believe in the importance of the further development and greater exploitation of these complementary data So essential to build policies in our countries which address the quality of life of our citizens as well as environmental degradation Developments must be underpinned by sound statistical methodology Partnership with user community is vital to build the trust necessary to enhance our understanding of the progress of our societies Brussels Jan


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