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Development of an Electronic Database of Economic Statistics with Internet Access

2006

To carry out the research into macroeconomic dynamics, researchers need the information to be presented as time series of economic indicators. Those time series should be of maximal length, and their levels should be comparable in time domain. The information should be organized in databases available for the users and designed to facilitate further electronic processing and ongoing updating.

Despite the obviousness of this and the presence of wide international experience, in our country there are serious problems in this area. These are associated with the difficulties of measurement of transitional economy dynamics (problems of economic statistics) and the organization of the available data which is not always relevant to the tasks of economic dynamics analysis (information problems). The problems of the first group lead to a decrease in the quality of identification of economic trends. The problems of the second group considerably increase the costs of economic dynamics analysis. Together they limit the development of the fundamental and applied research of the Russian economy, influence the quality of professional training and lead to a decrease in the  quality decision making.

To get rid of these ‘bottle necks’, the HSE Institute of Information Development has created an information resource, an electronic archive of economic data http://stat.hse.ru (http://sophist.hse.ru/), which includes an electronic database of economic and statistical information available on the internet. This resource has been working for a number of years, is constantly updated, maintained and replenished. The ‘core’ of the resource’s users is currently over 2000 people.

The result of the research was a considerable development of the resource http://stat.hse.ru (http://sophist.hse.ru/).

The following tasks were solved in the research:

·       Study of the principles and problems of the functioning of an information resource of this type;

·       Analysis of the problems of the resource’s information development, including:

  • Support for the resource,
  • Actualization of data on the dynamics of key macroeconomic indicators,
  • Development of the system part of the resource,
  • Changes in the dynamics of the resource traffic and the structure of the ‘core’ of its national and international audience,
  • Structure of the demand for information by types of the information presented on the resource.

The project involved the study of methods of new developments in economic and statistical indicators. The development of the information at the  http://stat.hse.ru resource involves a considerable increase in the number of presented indicators, especially by adding the retrospective time series according to the Russian National Classifier of Economic Activities (OKVED). It is important because the current evaluations of the appropriate indicators are calculated by the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), but to carry out research, a retrospective time series of those indicators are also needed. This problem is especially relevant for fundamental studies of the Russian transitional period. The needs of the current monitoring are largely secured by the time series of official up-to-date evaluations of the appropriate indicators.

Further project development can be carried out in several directions. Firstly, this can be a series of economic and statistical measurement works allowing a  better understanding the process and the regularities of the Russian transitional period. This data can be used, particularly, for the improvement of methods of constructing a series of key macroeconomic dynamics’ indicators. Secondly, this might be the development of the contents of indicators presented in the database, at the expense of, particularly, a broader use of alternative evaluations. This direction also includes an increase in the volume of non-numeric information available, such as metadata, publications and links. Thirdly, the development of the system part of the resource. It is important to emphasize that the work on the resource development is a continuously functioning processes.