Isaiah Hull, 23 July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed pressure on central banks and other public institutions to monitor the economy at a higher frequency than usual. However, much of the data and expertise needed to perform such monitoring is concentrated in the private sector and academia. This column describes the effort made by the Swedish Riksbank to alleviate this bottleneck by opening up a collaborative public channel through which academics and the private sector can directly contribute to the research in real time.

Robert Lantis, Erik Nesson, 23 May 2020

The idea that basketball players can find themselves with a ‘hot hand’ – a streak in which they seem magically to make shot after shot – resonates with sports reporters and spectators alike. This column investigates whether the idea of the ‘hot hand’ holds any basis in fact. Analysing 12 seasons of data from the National Basketball Association, including over 500,0000 free throws and two million field goals, the authors conclude that the basketball ‘hot hand’ is largely illusory.   

Makoto Yano, 14 April 2020

Data are the new resource in the modern production process. Building a high-quality market where this resource is shared, distributed, and used requires first establishing its ownership. This column argues that blockchain technology can be harnessed to effectively assign data ownership and develop a healthy cyber ecosystem. Ensuring the rights of individuals who generate data is crucial to preventing unnecessary erosions of market quality. However, forming a healthy ecosystem will not happen spontaneously, and will require careful planning and the expertise from multiple fields.

Claudia Biancotti, Alfonso Rosolia, Fabrizio Venditti, Giovanni Veronese, 12 April 2020

The COVID-19 lockdown will negatively impact businesses and households around the world not only through its direct effects on economic activity and employment, but also indirectly by the disrupting the flow of crucial information. This column suggests some channels through which national statistical institutes and other public agencies, private data brokers, and Big Tech companies can harness the full potential of their access to data.

Susan Ariel Aaronson, 05 February 2020

Individuals, citizens and firms have become increasingly dependent on data-driven services such as artificial intelligence and apps, and the same is true of defence and national security officials. This column argues that the US failure to adequately govern how firms use and monetise data affects national security in many ways. It also examines specific examples of the misuse of data and assesses the responses by the US and the EU.

Susan Ariel Aaronson, 30 January 2020

While data are cheap and plentiful in many developing countries, data analysis, with its dependence on infrastructure and highly skilled labour, is expensive. This column asks whether developing countries are ready for the new data-driven economy and how development organisations might help them. It concludes that developing countries should be encouraged to develop plans for data governance and to experiment through technical assistance, regulatory sandboxes and collaboration. At the same time, development agencies and advocates need to wrestle with important questions about data-driven growth.

Maria Savona, 17 January 2020

Personal data have value, and economists failed to predict that this value would become concentrated in the hands of digital platforms. The column presents a novel data-rights approach to redistributing data value while not undermining the ethical, legal and governance challenges of doing so. This can be done by giving individuals authorship rights to their personal data.

Jon Frost, Leonardo Gambacorta, Yi Huang, Hyun Song Shin, Pablo Zbinden, 04 October 2019

BigTech firms are entering finance, and their access to massive amounts of information may give them an edge in areas like credit assessment and beyond. This column assesses the economic forces behind the adoption of Big Tech services in finance. It shows that BigTech lenders thrive in countries with less competitive banks and less strict regulation, and that they have an information advantage from the use of big data and machine learning.

Rachel Griffith, 05 September 2019

Rachel Griffith uses the example of the calorie paradox to illustrate how researchers sometimes need to give up their preconceptions and go with what they see in the data.

Wendy C.Y. Li, Makoto Nirei, Kazufumi Yamana, 23 July 2019

Online platforms that provide services at zero monetary cost benefit greatly from the data these transactions generate. This column proposes a new method to value these data, based on firm investments in organisational capital. The method also captures the social value of consumer data. Accurate estimates may guide investment and improve national accounts.

Adrian Alter, Gaston Gelos, Heedon Kang, Machiko Narita, Erlend Nier, 03 April 2019

The IMF’s new iMaPP database integrates five major existing databases to build a comprehensive picture of macroprudential policies in use globally. This column shows how this rich dataset provides novel insights into the non-linear effects of changes in loan-to-value limits as one example of how better data can help policymakers to use macroprudential tools more precisely and effectively.

Edward Glaeser, 02 April 2019

Edward Glaeser of Harvard University investigates how Yelp data can be used when official data are not yet available, particularly in predicting gentrification.

Richard Blundell, 22 March 2019

Richard Blundell of University College London discusses the use of microdata to inform policy.

Jian Jia, Ginger Jin, Liad Wagman, 07 January 2019

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation was a landmark piece of legislation stipulating how businesses approach consumers’ privacy with regards to data. Using EU and US data, this column explores how the legislation impacted technology venture investment. The implementation of GDPR had an immediate, pronounced, and negative effect on investment. However, these results do not necessarily constitute a welfare loss, and the long-term effects of GDPR remain to be seen. 

, 05 November 2018

Over the last decade, UNU-WIDER have produced over 2,000 studies on economic and social development. This video outlines some important lessons from their work, from aid and data to inequality and energy.

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The European Commission is pursuing major initiatives in artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity. The goal of the latter is to improve awareness and response to the growing cybersecurity threats, while the goal of former is to ensure Europe’s competitiveness in the development and use of AI. However, integrating the initiatives will strengthen both. AI provides attackers new cybersecurity vulnerabilities to exploit and new methods to automate cyberattacks. Conversely, AI is a powerful tool for automating cyber defenses, discovering unknown vulnerabilities, and augmenting the shortage of human workers available to address cybersecurity challenges. That is why AI should play a key role in the EU’s cybersecurity strategy, and why cybersecurity should be a major part of its AI strategy.

Join the Center for Data Innovation and a panel of experts for a conversation about how AI can help Europe secure its systems, and the steps Europe should take to build more secure AI.

Giovanni Federico, Antonio Tena-Junguito, 28 July 2018

Global trade data for periods prior to WWII are notoriously incomplete and unreliable. This column describes a new dataset of historical world trade that addresses many of these flaws. The World Trade Historical Database comprises imports and exports for polities beginning in 1800, and also includes international prices for 190 products, freight rates, and exchange rates, where available. Though focused on aggregate trade, the data include information on the composition of trade from numerous sources.

Dan Nuer, 22 May 2018

For Ghana to move beyond aid to being self-sufficient on its own tax revenues, it must first gather huge amounts of data on the tax profiles of its citizens and businesses. Dan Nuer talks about the challenges the Ghanaian government faces in doing this, and how its work with the Institute for Fiscal Studies can help address them.

Finn Tarp, 16 April 2018

In economies like Viet Nam, policy agendas are increasingly data-driven. In this video, Finn Tarp shares five key policy goals for the country, based on data-rich household surveys. A combination of all five, including increasing productivty and innovation in and out of the agricultural sector, are needed to promote long-term growth.

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