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A Wiki Approach for Discussing Methodological Guidelines in the Field of Price Statistics. Dr. Berthold Feldmann – Eurostat unit C.5 Price statistics; purchasing power parities; housing statistics. Structure of the talk. The importance of comparability The role of meta information

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a wiki approach for discussing methodological guidelines in the field of price statistics

A Wiki Approach for Discussing Methodological Guidelines in the Field of Price Statistics

Dr. Berthold Feldmann – Eurostat unit C.5

Price statistics; purchasing power parities; housing statistics

structure of the talk
Structure of the talk
  • The importance of comparability
  • The role of meta information
  • The Wiki approach
  • Conclusion
chapter 1

Chapter 1

The importance of comparability

comparability across countries and across time
Comparability across countries and across time
  • Statistics are used by politicians, business managers and researchers as a base for important decisions
  • Non-comparable statistical data may lead to wrong political and business decisions
  • Hence it is of utmost importance that sensitive statistics are fully comparable across countries and across time
  • This also applies to consumer price data which are vital for central banks and government agencies for their monetary and economic policies
assessment of comparability
Assessment of comparability
  • In order to know if a given statistical dataset is comparable, or more generally in order to know if a given dataset fulfils various criteria of high quality, the concept of 'meta data' is very useful
  • Meta data is defined as data providing information about several aspects of the statistical data, such as:
    • Purpose of the data
    • Date of creation and source of data
    • Location and coding of the data
    • Quality standards achieved
  • Relevance
  • Accuracy & Reliability
  • Timeliness & Punctuality
  • Coherence & Comparability
  • Accessibility & Clarity
chapter 2

Chapter 2

The role of meta data

harmonisation of statistics
Harmonisation of statistics
  • Traditionally, there has been a rich divergence of methodological approaches in the different Statistical Offices in Europe for most statistical domains, based on their different histories and different administrative and technical set-up
  • Hence there was and still is a strong need to make these statistics comparable, so that they can be used as a sound base for political, monetary and business decisions
  • Depending on the importance of the statistical data, this harmonisation can be
    • Ex post (which is easier, but less systematic) or
    • Ex ante (which is more costly, but more rigorous)
steps in harmonisation
Steps in harmonisation
  • Focusing on ex-post harmonisation, several tools help to ensure that EU statistics are comparable:
    • A framework Regulation
    • Implementing Acts
    • Methodological meta data
  • The framework Regulation sets the obligations to collect, compute and transmit the required statistical data
  • The Implementing Acts give detailed rules for compiling the data in a harmonised way (examples for HICP: weights, seasonal products..)
  • The methodological meta data, often in the form of a manual, contain guidelines for data collection, sampling, compilation etc.
tools for harmonising statistics
Tools for harmonising statistics

Framework Regulation

Implementing Act

Methodological Guidelines

meta data in the harmonisation process
Meta data in the harmonisation process
  • In the process of rendering Eurostat's statistics comparable, meta data play a double role:
    • Detailed information on the Member State practice in the form of an inventory(= base for compliance monitoring)
    • Guidelines on the methods to be used – below the binding rules of a legal text

Inventory of methods applied in National Statistical Offices for HICP

Wiki application for Consumer Price Guidelines

(Methods Handbook)

types of meta data
Types of meta data

Description of current situation

Description of target situation

Inventory of

national

practices

Methodological

handbook,

containing guidelines

national

quality reports

harmonised indices of consumer prices hicp
Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP)
  • So far, we talked about statistics in general
  • Now we will present innovative solutions for HICP
  • The Maastricht Treaty (1992) set the convergence criteria for Monetary Union, among them inflation  Need for a tool to compare inflation across countries in an unbiased way
  • Framework Regulation on HICP in 1995, followed by 17 Implementing Acts
  • HICP = monthly price collection and dissemination for over 100 COICOP product groups
the inventory
The inventory
  • A new project in the domain of HICP, starting in 2012
  • The inventory will contain all methods applied in the National Statistical Institutes for the collection, compilation and dissemination of consumer price indices
  • It will be updated every year
    • Based on a legal obligation
  • The content will be public as far as the NSI agrees to this
    • In order to foster transparency, Eurostat will try to maximise the publicly available part of the inventory
  • For the time being, the inventory will be an MS ACCESS application
  • Based on SDMX content oriented guidelines
chapter 3

Chapter 3

The Wiki approach

methodological guidelines
Methodological Guidelines
  • Guidelines are not legally binding, but contain recommendations that should be followed by all National Statistical Offices in order to assure a high level of comparability
  • For consumer prices, we classified the recommendations into five categories
    • Recommendations under discussion
    • Final recommendations
    • Recommendations prior to 2010
    • Questions and Answers
    • Recommendations related to housing prices
why a wiki application
Why a Wiki application
  • A Wiki platform allows fast updates of the content
  • A Wiki platform is accessible to everyone
    • The Wiki on guidelines for consumer prices will be addressed mainly to experts in price statistics, both producers and consumers
    • It will also assure transparency for the public at large concerning methods used in HICP
  • A Wiki platform has several advantages over a traditional, printed manual:
    • The audience of a website is much larger
    • The reaction time if improvements of the text are needed is much faster
    • Real discussions via the internet are possible
a transparent forum for discussions
A transparent forum for discussions
  • Eurostat intends to give to a selected group of price experts in the National Statistical Offices and the ECB
    • write permits in order to improve the recommendations
    • restricted access to a discussion forum
  • The Wiki leaves a clear trace of all changes made to the texts, so that everyone knows who introduced certain changes and when
  • A Wiki platform can be organised in a user-friendly way that allows to find any recommendation quickly
next steps
Next steps
  • The Wiki website will be further filled with recommendations
  • Meta data related to HICP, e.g. inventory data, quality reports and analytical articles will be added to the site
  • Meta data related to Purchasing Power Parities (PPP) will be added
  • The site will be presented to the Price Statistics Working Group in October 2012
  • The price experts in the Member States that will have write access to the Wiki site will be selected
  • The Wiki website is scheduled to go public within the coming six months
chapter 4

Chapter 4

Conclusion

some tentative conclusions
Some tentative conclusions
  • Meta data on applied or recommended methodology are important not only for understanding the content of statistics, but also for monitoring the quality of statistics
  • These days, meta data need to be based on internet applications in order to allow fast updates, easy access and transparency for all users
  • A Wiki platform seems to be the appropriate tool for presenting and discussing methodological guidelines
thank you for your attention
Thank you for

your attention!

Any Questions ?