While economic statistics play an unprecedentedly large part in public debate, and many experts make use of them, the UK did not – until recently - have a dedicated academic centre of expertise. All this changed in November last year with the creation of the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (ESCoE), an investment by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in response to the findings of the Bean Review.
ESCoE is made up of a consortium of leading institutions led by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) with King’s College London, innovation foundation Nesta, University of Cambridge, Warwick Business School (University of Warwick) and Strathclyde Business School.
The mix of institutions combines renowned academics in leading universities in the fields of economic statistics and measurement, a research institution with a track record of delivering policy relevant and high impact economic research, an innovation charity taking the lead in novel uses of big data for economic analysis, and business schools at the vanguard of developing statistics for the broader user community.
ESCoE’s focus will be to provide analysis of emerging and future issues in measuring the modern economy. The centre will offer the capacity for fundamental methodological and conceptual work, which will include best ways to address the challenge of measuring new forms of economic activity in a globalised world, meeting the needs for local area statistics and the productivity puzzle.
Moreover ESCoE will offer a platform for constructive discussion and dialogue around official statistics, to feed into the development and improvement of ONS economic statistics and data processing methodologies. The Centre will generate mechanisms for greater collaboration between ONS and external experts.
Operating from NIESR’s office in central London, the Centre will be a venue for lecture series and masterclasses, a meeting point for researchers and stakeholders, and a common base for international visitors and secondments to the ESCoE, as well as a common base for ESCoE PhD students and junior researchers.
The ESCoE’s research team and networks include Professors and researchers with world-leading publication records in economic measurement and statistics and understanding the economy, who are regularly involved in agenda-setting research in the areas of macroeconomic statistics and national accounts, productivity statistics and analysis and conceptualising the modern economy, and who have a wealth of experience in quantitative economic and statistical analysis.
The ambitious core research programme consists of thirteen projects in three broad areas: National Accounts and Beyond GDP, Productivity and the Modern Economy, Regional and Labour Market Statistics.
Projects in the first year of operations will include research to develop democratic measures of income and growth, evaluation of best practice methods for measuring service sector activities and barriers to producing innovations in this area, analysis of trade in value added for key sectors that will help to build the evidence base for setting priorities in negotiating international trade deals, analysis of big data to improve occupational classification systems for the modern economy, and the use of nowcasting techniques to produce more timely and higher frequency regional macroeconomic indicators.
For further details of our research programme: please download this PDF