Facing up to uncertainty in official economic statistics

Charles F Manski 21 May 2014

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Government statistical agencies commonly report official economic statistics as point estimates. Agency documents describing data and methods may acknowledge that estimates are subject to error, but they typically do not quantify error magnitudes. News releases present estimates with little if any mention of potential error.

In the absence of agency guidance, users of official statistics may misinterpret the information that the statistics provide. I urge statistical agencies to measure uncertainty and report it in their news releases and technical publications.

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Topics:  Global governance

Tags:  uncertainty; economic statistics

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