Timely access to information is crucial for informed decisionmaking, but official government statistics are often months or years old by the time they are published. In addition, government statistics can be expensive to produce, burdensome on respondents, and sometimes even inaccurate or imprecise—all factors which limit their usefulness to policymakers, businesses, and others. To address this problem, some researchers are experimenting with using alternative data sources to complement or replace traditional government statistics. For example, “The Billion Prices Project @ MIT” collects data from hundreds of retailers across more than 70 countries to produce daily statistics on inflation and exchange rates
Join ITIF's Center for Data Innovation for a panel discussion with invited economists, statisticians, and policymakers about the possibility of using alternative data sources and methods to improve the quality and timeliness of government data. In addition, at this event, ETLA, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, will present a new study that demonstrates the feasibility of using data from search engines to predict unemployment.