September 14, 2017

IMF published a research paper on the potential, challenges, and implications of big data for macroeconomic and financial statistics. It addresses the wide range of stakeholders of “official” data and statistics and covers interested users and producers.

The paper highlights that big data opportunities for countries will be asymmetric and will depend on the country’s characteristics and the availability of the systems and networks generating big data. Data quality concerns, difficulties with access, and new required skills and technologies are the main challenges of big data. While big data mainly measure insights, correlations, trends, and sentiments, detailed country-by-country time series in accordance with the internationally agreed standards remain crucial for measuring and monitoring countries’ economic performance and policies over time. Going forward, international statistical cooperation is key to overcoming big data challenges and to building lasting partnerships among national and international statistical agencies, users, and data owners. The implications include the need for interested parties to build the required skills and technologies in their organizations.

 

Opportunities, challenges, and potential implications of big data are particularly high for national statistical agencies. Given that big data is not static but dynamic, the systems and networks generating big data continue to evolve, and with them the possibilities, challenges, and limitations of big data for statistics. Consequently, the overall assessment made in this paper will need to be revisited as the worlds of big data and official statistics evolve.

 

Related Link: Discussion Note (PDF)

Keywords: International, Banking, Securities, Insurance, Big Data, Statistics, International Standards, International Cooperation, IMF

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