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Real-time analysis using administrative data

Helsinki Graduate School of Economics has set up a "Situation Room" that allows researchers, government and the wider public to perform real-time analysis of the Finnish economy. We asked one of the researchers behind the initiative about it.

The Helsinki GSE Situation room combines micro data from multiple sources to allow for real-time analysis of the Finnish economy. Researchers in Nordic countries are used to having access to high-quality administrative data, but usually with a substantial time lag. We asked Otto Toivanen, Professor of Economics at the Aalto University School of Business, what the biggest obstactle was when so rapidly setting up the situation room. 

“There was no single biggest obstacle, but altogether, the negotiations with different government bodies on whether and how to get access to their data took a lot of our time.”

“A complicating factor was that we needed to bring together diverse actors and negotiate access to sensitive data. Being academics gave us credibility, but at the same time the fact that we are not part of the government complicated these negotiations. It was not clear what mandate we have, nor how to formulate the contracts between us and the institutions delivering the data.”

An economic analysis of the epidemic is published every Thursday. Link to report from May 18: https://www.helsinkigse.fi/corona/continued-rapid-increase-in-the-number-of-furloughed-employees/.

VoxEU column presenting the Helsinki GSE Situation Room: https://voxeu.org/article/real-time-economic-analysis-covid-19-crisis-lessons-finland.

Link to Helsinki GSE Situation Room data vault: https://www.helsinkigse.fi/korona-data/.

Posted by Robert Östling, Stockholm School of Economics

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