Statistical Story Telling
Symon Algera
Statistics Netherlands, The Hague, Netherlands

The presentation of Symon Algera consists of two parts. In the first part, he will describe the policy of Statistics Netherlands to pay more attention to “statistical story-telling” (instead of producing large databases filled with numbers). This policy is corroborated by the reactions and sometimes criticism of users of statistics in the context of the recent financial crisis. The main problem appeared not to be the number of indicators and not even the timeliness, but rather the story behind the figures, the analysis, the conclusions and trends, which can be drawn from the indicators. The main problem and challenge is to put relevant indicators together in a coherent framework. New IT tools have opened a broad range of possibilities in presenting these coherent indicator sets in (mostly interactive) visualisations. This has resulted in a number of new statistical products, which are already copied by a number of countries and international organisations. Special attention will be paid to the use of these new products in schools for economic education.

In the second part of the presentation, a number of these new products and their uses will be shown and illustrated. Special attention will be paid to the Business Cycle Tracer (with extended uses) and the Radars for exports, household consumption and capital formation, including their interactive possibilities.

Keywords: Statistical story telling; Coherent indicator sets; IT-Tools

Biography: Symon Algera is an economist with a long-standing experience at Statistics Netherlands. He was head of the Department of Short-term Indicators and Regional Statistics and head of the Department of National Accounts. He has carried out consultancy missions to various foreign countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. Special focus in these missions was on the subjects System of Economic Statistics, the Quarterly National Accounts and the Business Cycle Statistics.

In recent years, he has been responsible for the development and introduction of some new and innovative statistical products like the Business Cycle Tracer and the Radars. These products are part of Statistics Netherlands' policy to put more focus on “statistical story-telling”.

He wrote numerous papers about the above-mentioned subjects.