Claudia Buch: Can technology and innovation help? New data generating possibilities

Speech by Prof Claudia Buch, Vice-President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, at the at the Ninth ECB Statistics Conference "20 years of ESCB statistics: What's next?", Frankfurt am Main, 12 July 2018.

Central bank speech  | 
23 July 2018

I would like to thank Stefan Bender, Jürgen Häcker, Claudia Wieck, and Simon Oehler for most helpful contributions to an earlier draft. Any errors and inconsistencies are my own. 

Abstract

New data, technologies, and IT developments significantly alter production processes and distribution channels in the economy. Comparative advantage depends, to an increasing degree, on the capability to select the right data and to take "data driven" decisions. At the same time, regulators are challenged in the areas of consumer protection, competition policy, and data confidentiality.

Central banks are affected as well - although they do not "compete" on markets. Mandates of central banks comprise the provision of public goods: price and financial stability. This, in turn, requires analytical strength and making best use of data and methodologies. For policy analysis and research, statistics and reliable data based on standardization and quality assurance are crucial inputs. New technologies can contribute to a better quality of data and better analytical work.

In this talk, I argue that technology and innovation affect the production of central bank statistics and the production of knowledge. I outline how existing and new sources of data can be used more efficiently and how new analytical tools can improve production processes (Section 2). At the same time, challenges need to be managed (Section 3). The demand for skills changes away from manual to analytical and communication tasks, cost-benefit analysis needs to be improved, and knowledge sharing within and across central banks is crucial.  

1 What's new?

Digitalization has the potential to overhaul the traditional system of compiling (central bank) statistics. In the traditional system, reporting forms are used to obtain targeted information meeting a specific purpose as, for instance, the compilation of balance of payments statistics. Interest is in aggregated data, not the underlying micro- or granular data.