Economists Do It With Models

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Who Needs Data Anyway?

September 4th, 2007 · 1 Comment

This is disturbing (from the NYT):

“Just before the break, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would cut $23.6 million from the bureau’s 2008 budget for compiling the nation’s most important economic statistics. A cut of that size would result in the largest loss of source data since the government started keeping the statistics during the Great Depression, impairing the accuracy of figures on economic growth, consumer spending, corporate profits, labor productivity, inflation and other benchmark indicators.”

Eh, I suppose I really wanted to be a theory person anyway. Sarcasm aside though, I find it very frustrating that, at a time where economics is becoming more popular (and people increasingly understand the importance of economic analysis) and students and researchers at all levels are learning advanced techniques to analyze economic data, one of the main providers of data is deciding that its collection is declining in priority. My guess is that the government will replace at least some of the cost by giving grants to other institutions to collect such information.

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