The symbiosis of economic policy and statistics is important for identifying crises, says Ardo Hansson
Governor of Eesti Pank Ardo Hansson emphasised in his opening speech at an international conference on statistics today the importance of reliable and internationally comparable figures for making economic and monetary policy.
Ardo Hansson spoke of the importance of statistics both in everyday life and in policy-making. “It is not possible to make economic or monetary policy if we do not have reliable, usable and internationally comparable figures available. We need statistics so we can know how prices change, how many people are employed and unemployed, how much the state is spending and so forth. If those figures cannot be trusted, if they are published too long after the fact, or if they are corrected too often, then they are no longer useful for assessing economies or comparing the economic policies of countries”, he said.
In a world that is globalising more and more and is rapidly changing, statistics must keep pace with innovations to ensure that data from different countries are comparable and that ever newer and more complex financial instruments can be assessed. “History has often shown us that crises always occur there where we were not watching carefully enough and where we did not quantify what was happening with statistics”, he explained.
“Eesti Pank uses statistics in all of its decisions that affect price stability and financial stability, and monetary and economic policy rely on evidence-based data. Statistics are the base for many of the other core tasks of the central bank”.
Compiling statistics on the financial sector and the external sector is one of the main functions of Eesti Pank, and 28 people work directly at doing that.
Experts on statistics from Estonia and neighbouring countries will speak at the conference about the role of statistics in a modern information society, the expectations and needs of users of statistics today, potential development for statistics, and concerns about an ageing society. The conference is being organised by Statistics Estonia, Eesti Pank and the National Institute for Health Development on the 95th anniversary of the Estonian statistical system.
The conference is being broadcast live on the website of Statistics Estonia.