The Importance of Data: Statistics During the Pandemic and Beyond

8th October 2021

The Central Bank of Ireland yesterday (7 October 2021) hosted a webinar on “The Importance of Data: Statistics During the Pandemic and Beyond”. Philip R. Lane, Executive Board member at the European Central Bank and former Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland delivered the keynote address.  The event focused on the important role played by statistics in economic analysis and evidence-based policymaking.

The webinar highlighted the experiences of statisticians during the pandemic and the learnings these provide for statistical systems going forward. It also examined the impact of ongoing challenges for data providers and statisticians, such as globalisation and the transition to a greener and more digitalised economy. Speakers included representatives from the Economic and Social Research Institute, Central Statistics Office, Bank for International Settlements, and International Monetary Fund.

Opening the event, Deputy Governor Sharon Donnery highlighted the importance of data for the Central Bank to support evidence-based policymaking. She also discussed the Central Bank’s role as a provider of high-quality statistics, saying, “It is highly important to us to be a trusted and credible source for our users domestically and further afield.” Ms. Donnery outlined that, “Within the Central Bank, we have been developing key skills to integrate granular data into our decision-making and existing risk assessment frameworks.” She drew a number of lessons from the experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, she acknowledged the efforts required to keep a statistical system running at a time when an understanding of what was happening in the economy and financial system was so integral to effective decision-making. “The investment in highly granular data served us well,” Ms. Donnery said. “We were able to quickly understand where the large financial exposures in the economy lay.”

Speaking during the event, Mr. Lane said, “High-frequency data and surveys have been especially informative for monetary policy during the pandemic. Such indicators supplement rather than replace lower-frequency official statistics, especially during highly atypical episodes such as the pandemic.”

Ms. Donnery concluded by saying, “The future world is and will continue to be awash with data – some trusted, some that requires caution. In this world, the importance of clearly communicated, trusted, and verified statistics becomes even more valuable for an organisation like the Central Bank of Ireland to deliver its mandate.”


Notes to Editor

The Central Bank’s webinar event, “The Importance of Data: Statistics during the Pandemic and Beyond” was hosted virtually on 7 October 2021. More information on the event, including a full list of speakers and slide presentations, can be found here.

Mr. Philip R. Lane joined the European Central Bank as a Member of the Executive Board in 2019. He is responsible for the Directorate General Economics and the Directorate General Monetary Policy. Before joining the ECB, he was the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland.

Slides from Mr. Lane’s keynote address can be viewed here.

Further Information:

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Grace Duffy / 086 032 6689

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  • Author : MGAA
  • 8th October 2021