OECD ObserverBy Martine Durand, Director, OECD Directorate of Statistics. Did you know that, according to the UN Global Pulse, more data was created in 2011 than in the whole of human history, or at least, since the invention of the alphabet?
Technological and social innovations are resulting in huge flows of new data every day. This proliferation of so-called “big data” has the potential to change the way information is collected and used to inform policymaking.
New sources of data are increasingly providing real-time information to analysts and policy-makers. For example, it is now possible to collect price data on a wide range of goods and services with smartphones, and then calculate a daily price index. Similarly, job offers posted online provide a new source for analysing labour market trends, while data on Internet financial transactions and sales are increasingly used to forecast world output. At the same time, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have already revolutionised the way policymakers interact with civil society. Governments use these networks both to push their messages out and to pull information in that may influence the design and targeting of policies as people place more of their personal information on social networking sites. Read more...