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13 - Developments in Data for Economic Research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2017

Roberto Barcellan
Affiliation:
Eurostat, Luxembourg
Peter Bøegh Nielsen
Affiliation:
Statistics Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Caterina Calsamiglia
Affiliation:
CEMFI, Madrid, Spain
Colin Camerer
Affiliation:
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Estelle Cantillon
Affiliation:
Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
Bruno Crépon
Affiliation:
CREST and JPAL, Paris, France
Bram De Rock
Affiliation:
Université Libre de Bruxelles, ECARES, Brussels, Belgium
László Halpern
Affiliation:
Hungarian Academy of Science, Budapest Hungary
Arie Kapteyn
Affiliation:
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Asim I. Khwaja
Affiliation:
Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA
Georg Kirchsteiger
Affiliation:
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Vigdis Kvalheim
Affiliation:
Norway Social Science Data Service, Bergen, Norway
Julia Lane
Affiliation:
New York University, New York, USA
Markus Mobius
Affiliation:
Microsoft Research, Cambridge, MA, USA
Luke Sibieta
Affiliation:
Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, UK
Joseph Tracy
Affiliation:
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York, USA
Frederic Udina
Affiliation:
Idescat, Barcelona, Spain
Gugliemo Weber
Affiliation:
University of Padua, Padua, Italy
Lisa Wright
Affiliation:
Bureau Van Dijk, Manchester, UK
Laszlo Matyas
Affiliation:
Central European University, Budapest
Richard Blundell
Affiliation:
University College London
Estelle Cantillon
Affiliation:
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Barbara Chizzolini
Affiliation:
Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milan
Marc Ivaldi
Affiliation:
Toulouse School of Economics, EHESS
Wolfgang Leininger
Affiliation:
Universität Dortmund
Ramon Marimon
Affiliation:
European University Institute, Florence
Frode Steen
Affiliation:
Norwegian School of Economics
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Summary

Abstract

There has been a steep increase in empirical research in economics in the past 20–30 years. This chapter brings together several actors and stakeholders in these developments to discuss their drivers and implications. All types of data are considered: official data, data collected by researchers, lab experiments, randomized control trials, and proprietary data from private and public sources. When relevant, emphasis is placed on developments specific to Europe. The basic message of the chapter is that there is no single type of data that is superior to all others. We need to promote diversity of data sources for economic research and ensure that researchers are equipped to take advantage of them. All stakeholders – researchers, research institutions, funders, statistical agencies, central banks, journals, data firms, and policy-makers – have a role to play in this.

Introduction

The past 20–30 years have witnessed a steady rise in empirical research in economics. In fact, a majority of articles published by leading journals these days are empirical, in stark contrast with the situation 40 or 50 years ago (Hamermesh, 2013). This change in the distribution of methodologies used in economic research was made possible by improved computing power but, more importantly, thanks to an increase in the quantity, quality and variety of data used in economics.

This chapter brings together several actors and stakeholders in these changes to discuss their drivers and implications. All types of data are considered. When relevant, emphasis is placed on developments specific to Europe. Sections 13.2 and 13.3 deal with official microdata. Section 13.2 focuses on the level of access to microdata in Europe and its determinants. Section 13.3 focuses on cross-country data harmonization. Section 13.4 then switches gears entirely and discusses the benefits and costs of large-scale data collection efforts led by researchers, instead of statistical offices. Section 13.5 discusses data produced by researchers, either in the context of lab experiments or in the context of randomized control trials. Both types of data have led to major advances; for the first one in our understanding of human behaviour and the robustness of economic institutions; for the second in our understanding of the impact of policies and themechanisms underlying them.

Type
Chapter
Information
Economics without Borders
Economic Research for European Policy Challenges
, pp. 568 - 611
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2017
You have Access Open access

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