Pablo Hernández de Cos: Statistical production and economic policymaking - a view from a central bank

Speech by Mr Pablo Hernández de Cos, Governor of the Bank of Spain and Chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, at the 2020 International Conference of Statistics for Society - INE, 4 November 2020.

Central bank speech  | 
04 November 2020
PDF full text
 |  9 pages

General considerations

Let me first congratulate the Instituto Nacional de Estadística on this anniversary. Since its creation in the very difficult times after the Spanish civil war, INE has continuously grown in stature. Today, it boasts the highest standards in terms of professionalism and credibility.

We live in a society overcrowded with data. Every decision we take and every transaction or movement we make are reflected in some or another database. But this per se has not necessarily increased our real information or our knowledge. Many of those data are not structured, lack a precise definition or do not follow a specific methodology. This is why statistics and, in particular, official statistics are so important, as they transform data into real information. And we need this to make sound decisions. Policymaking thus heavily relies on timely, exhaustive and detailed information provided by official statistics.

Unsurprisingly, statistical production plays a prominent role in central banks. Several factors are at play here, such as a long-standing tradition in producing and analysing monetary and financial information, staff who are highly experienced in these tasks and good "raw materials", in part benefitting from the key role of the central bank as the banking regulator and supervisor. I should stress that the autonomy of central banks has also greatly helped enhance the credibility of their statistical output.