The production of official statistics needs to be a separate branch of government

Andreas V. Georgiou
2018 Statistical Journal of the IAOS  
The production of official statistics should not be carried out by one of the branches of government whose performance is being assessed on the basis of these statistics. Given that official statistics are tasked with providing the branches of government and the public with the information that enables checking on the performance of various parts of government, the optimal institutional setup for statistical production has to avoid conflict of interest. To do so and to fully and sustainably
more » ... the standard of professional independence, the production of statistics should not be part of the executive branch of government, i.e., it should have institutional independence. The paper presents behaviors and practices consistent with professional independence and discusses the capacity to implement them given the modalities of dependence when statistics production is part of the executive, taking into account safeguards. It concludes that significant risks remain for abuse of the currently existing dependencies of statistics production on the executive and the distinct possibility persists for external pressure or self-censorship, while trust in statistics is not maximized. The paper outlines elements of the needed paradigm shift of institutional independence for official statistics and discusses the costs and benefits of such a shift.
doi:10.3233/sji-170399 fatcat:whyzl7i7pvbixhsfvmze4xluam