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 researchers and institutions in our partnership have a long-standing history of collaboration with one another and with the ONS.
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. ESCoE offers 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.
ESCoE’s operating model is one of a network of researchers and institutions carrying out research run from a single physical centre based at NIESR 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.
ESCoE’s 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.