International Statistical Review

Official Statistics - Pressures and Challenges (ISI President's Invited Lecture, 2003)

Ivan P. Fellegi

Full-text: Access denied (no subscription detected)

We're sorry, but we are unable to provide you with the full text of this article because we are not able to identify you as a subscriber. If you have a personal subscription to this journal, then please login. If you are already logged in, then you may need to update your profile to register your subscription. Read more about accessing full-text

Abstract

The paper considers the pressures faced by official statistics at the present time. As such, its emphasis is on current rather than intrinsic (time independent) issues. It discusses the six specific challenges.

(1) Trust. Declining social trust poses a particular problem since their output would become close to useless without trust in statistical agencies (both in their professional competence and in their integrity to safeguard the statistical system from inappropriate political interference). However, this represents not only a pressure, but also an opportunity: governments' response to declining trust is more transparency and evidence-based decision making, which however requires trusted ''information brokers''. Possible responses to this opportunity are discussed.

(2) Privacy. Developments in information technology and the pervasive character of the Internet have sharpened concerns about privacy. Yet, our role as ''information brokers'' critically depends on intensive exploitation of administrative records and their linkage with survey information. How we respond to this challenge will be a key determinant of our increasing or declining usefulness.

(3) Social statistics. Social statistics are relatively underdeveloped-yet they are to inform decisions in an area that in most countries accounts the bulk of government expenditures. In order to be more relevant, we must shift our emphasis from measuring inputs and processes to illuminating outcomes and their underlying dynamics. Some examples of Canadian responses in this area are described.

(4) Economic statistics and globalisation. There is a tension between our activities which are national in scope, and the activities of multinational corporations. The paper explores some ideas for coping with these challenges.

(5). Environment statistics. While underdeveloped in most countries, the Kyoto accords and heightened interest in sustainability provide significant opportunities. The paper outlines the major elements of a statistical system needed to monitor sustainable development.

(6) Finally, the paper concludes with consideration of some issues facing the international statistical system.

Article information

Source
Internat. Statist. Rev., Volume 72, Number 1 (2004), 139-155.

Dates
First available in Project Euclid: 15 March 2004

Permanent link to this document
https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.isr/1079360119

Zentralblatt MATH identifier
1330.62045

Keywords
Official statistics Trust Privacy Social statistics Globalisation Environment statistics International statistical system

Citation

Fellegi, Ivan P. Official Statistics - Pressures and Challenges (ISI President's Invited Lecture, 2003). Internat. Statist. Rev. 72 (2004), no. 1, 139--155. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.isr/1079360119


Export citation

References

  • [1] Barnabé, R. (2003). Seeing the whole elephant: a proposed experiment on measuring the activities of multinational enterprises. Paper prepared for the 51st Plenary Session of the Conference of European Statisticians.
  • [2] Fellegi, I.P. (1996). Characteristics of an Effective Statistical System (Morris Hansen Lecture). International Statistical Review, 64, 165-199. Abstract can also be found in the ISI/STMA publication
  • [3] Fellegi, I.P. & Ryten, J. (2000). A Peer Review of the Swiss Statistical System, Neuchâtel. International Monetary Fund website \mathtt{http://www.imf.org}
  • [4] Fellegi, I.P. & Ryten, J. (2001). A Peer Review of the Hungarian Statistical System, Budapest. International Monetary Fund website \mathtt{http://www.imf.org}
  • [5] Fellegi, I.P. & Wolfson, M. (1999). Towards Systems of Social Statistics. Journal of Official Statistics, 15, 373-395.
  • [6] Inglehart, R. (1999). Trust, well-being and democracy. In Democracy and Trust, Ed. M. Warren, pp. 88-120. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • [7] McLennan, B. (1995). You can count on us-with confidence. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 158, 467-489.
  • [8] United Nations (2003). Handbook of Statistical Organization, Third Edition, The Operation and Organization of a Statistical Agency, New York.