8th IMF Statistical Forum: Measuring the Economics of a Pandemic

November 17-19, 2020

Given the travel restrictions related to COVID-19, we have decided that the IMF 8th Statistical Forum will be virtual this year.

Although the conference will be virtual, we hope to continue to offer lively debates, interactions, and other networking opportunities. The organizing committee is equally committed to preparing a successful forum.

The paper submissions have been very competitive. Based on the already announced preliminary program and the final selection of papers, a draft agenda will be published by mid-September, taking into account the virtual format.

This year’s virtual Statistical Forum will be held over three days, November 17-19, 2020, with only morning sessions (Washington, D.C. time) to overlap as much as possible with different time zones.

Registration will open in September. Stay tuned and visit the Forum’s website for more details.

If you have any questions, please email STAForum@imf.org.

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Preliminary Program

This year’s Forum focuses on data needs for policymaking arising from the pandemic and the related statistical challenges. Taking stock of the on-going experience, the Forum will look into the implications for both users and producers of statistics as well as for the statistical systems themselves.

Session 1: The Economics of a Pandemic: What are the Data Needs?

Historically, crises have shown the importance of data that allow detection of vulnerabilities, assessment of their impact, and implementation of timely and targeted corrective measures. This time, the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly transformed the economic environment and created unprecedented statistical challenges in just a few weeks. The post-pandemic will likely see long-lasting effects on the functioning of the economy, including such things as consuming and working from home, patterns of demand, organization of production, global value chains, employment dynamics, income distribution as well as, financial conditions and stability. In this session policymakers and researches will discuss the emerging data needs.

Session 2: Weathering the Storm: Statistics at the Time of a Pandemic

The world’s national statistical offices, central banks and other government institutions, have been previously confronted to pandemics (e.g., SARS in 2002 and N1H1 in 2009) as well as, major natural disasters which disrupted statistical operations and challenged them to respond to new data needs. This time, the disruptions from the COVID-19 are of a larger scale and risk to be more long-lasting. In many cases, the current data sources and survey methods, have become overnight non-operational or even obsolete. At the same time, the pandemic may have created some new opportunities for innovation. How have statistical and data compilers overcome the challenges? In this session, statistical compilers and other economic actors will identify best practices and the lessons learnt.

Session 3: What are the data gaps?

In this session data users and producers will jointly assess the gap between the data needs arising from the pandemic as identified in Session 1 and the statistics available as discussed in Session 2. What are the most critical information gaps?

Session 4: Cost-benefit Analysis and Prioritization

Based on the gaps identified in Session 3, this session will focus on the costs and benefits of redesigning and adapting the statistical systems and implementing the measures identified by users and producers as priorities. In doing so, it will consider the large disparities across countries in statistical capacity, resource constraints, and access to new and innovative data sources. A systematic evaluation of both the costs of production and the expected benefits will be made. By confronting benefits and costs, the session will offer the necessary prioritization.

Session 5: What are the lessons in the long-term for the demand and supply of statistics?

This session will discuss how the statistical systems need to evolve to deliver the new priorities identified in Session 4. Which changes to the current statistical systems are both key for evidenced-based policymaking and feasible? Considerations will be given to a) the availability, accessibility and reliability of data sources, traditional and new, b) the availability of practical methods of estimation and compilation, and c) the resource constraints for statistics, particularly in countries with lower capacity.

Closing Panel

8th Stats Forum Digiposter