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Sunday, May 20, 2012

"We Need More and Better Data, not Less"

Calculated Risk:

Comment: We need more and better data, not less, by Calculated Risk: The Depression led to an effort to enhance and expand data collection on employment, and I was hoping the housing bubble and bust would lead to a similar effort to collect better housing related data. From the BLS history:

[T]he growing crisis [the Depression], spurred action on improving employment statistics. In July [1930], Congress enacted a bill sponsored by Senator Wagner directing the Bureau to "collect, collate, report, and publish at least once each month full and complete statistics of the volume of and changes in employment." Additional appropriations were provided.

In the early stages of the Depression, policymakers were flying blind. But at least they recognized the need for better data, and took action. All business people know that when there is a problem, a key first step is to measure the problem. That is why I've been a strong supporter of trying to improve data collection on the number of households, vacant housing units, foreclosures and more.

But unfortunately some people want to eliminate a key source of data ...

From Matthew Philips at Businessweek: Killing the American Community Survey Blinds Business... From Catherine Rampell at the NY Times: The Beginning of the End of the Census? ...

The good news is this vote is being criticized across the political spectrum ...
From the WSJ: Republicans try to kill data collection that helps economic growth... From the NY Times: Operating in the Dark... From AEI's Norman Ornstein at Roll Call: Research Cuts Are Akin to Eating Seed Corn... From the WaPo: The American Community Survey is a count worth keeping... And from Menzie Chinn at Econonbrowser: The War on Data Collection

Pretty sad. The only good news is this vote was condemned across the political spectrum.

[See also: Policymakers Need Better and More Timely Economic Data.]

    Posted by on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 02:10 PM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (27)


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