- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: March 2021
- Print publication year: 2021
- Online ISBN: 9781108867962
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108867962
Who decides how official statistics are produced? Do politicians have control or are key decisions left to statisticians in independent statistical agencies? Interviews with statisticians in Australia, Canada, Sweden, the UK and the USA were conducted to get insider perspectives on the nature of decision making in government statistical administration. While the popular adage suggests there are 'lies, damned lies and statistics', this research shows that official statistics in liberal democracies are far from mistruths; they are consistently insulated from direct political interference. Yet, a range of subtle pressures and tensions exist that governments and statisticians must manage. The power over statistics is distributed differently in different countries, and this book explains why. Differences in decision-making powers across countries are the result of shifting pressures politicians and statisticians face to be credible, and the different national contexts that provide distinctive institutional settings for the production of government numbers.
Jenny M Lewis - Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia