The Democracy Data Revolution: Simon Jackman at TEDxSydney (by TEDxTalks) — I agree with the general statement about the desirableness of data democracy, but it’s really the democratization of expertise that counts in my view; if data analysis might bring a “second Enlightenment”, it will most likely play out like the first one and require many steps to disrupt the allocation of authority in society, and therefore the overall social hierarchies in which we live.
During the Thatcher years, politicians began to take an unhealthy interest in how official statistics were compiled. The regime of Gordon Brown took statistical prestidigitation to new heights. The economic cycle was redefined several times, always with the result that the target of controlling borrowing over the cycle had, despite appearances, been met. The status of Network Rail and its financing arrangements were reformulated several times to pretend the body responsible for Britain’s rail infrastructure was not an agency of government – which it manifestly was – and that its borrowings were not guaranteed by government – which markets knew they were; an episode of which the mandarins of Yes Minister would have been proud.
‘The head of Elstat, Greece’s new independent statistics agency, faces an official criminal investigation for allegedly inflating the scale of the country’s fiscal crisis and acting against the Greek national interest.
Andreas Georgiou, who worked at the International Monetary Fund for 20 years, was appointed in 2010 by agreement with the fund and the European Commission to clean up Greek statistics after years of official fudging by the finance ministry.
“I am being prosecuted for not cooking the books,” Mr Georgiou told the Financial Times. “We would like to be a good, boring institution doing its job. Unfortunately, in Greece statistics is a combat sport.”’
The head of Greece’s statistics agency, Andreas Georgiou, is to face a criminal inquiry. An ex-employee of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Zoe Georganta, has accused him of colluding with the European Union’s statistical arm, Eurostat, to inflate Greece’s deficit figure for 2009, thereby justifying Greece’s EU-IMF bailout, signed in May 2010, and its drastic austerity measures. Georgiou vehemently denies the charges.
Larry Bartels: “Income growth was slow through most of 2012, and prospective voters were correspondingly pessimistic about the state of the economy. So how was Barack Obama reelected? An important part of the answer is that perceptions of the economy became significantly less pessimistic in the fall than they had been in the summer—a shift coinciding with the beginning of a rebound in the actual income growth rate in September. This upturn in economic perceptions probably boosted Obama’s popular vote margin by about three percentage points—suggesting that an election held a few months sooner might have been a good deal closer.” (via The Economy and the Campaign — The Monkey Cage)