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In an age of Big Data, measurement error can be costly for smaller communities – Policy Options

March 21, 2024

Good policymaking relies on good data and ensuring quality, meaningful data faces constant challenges in a fast-evolving information ecosystem.

The quantity of data has increased, real-time data have become ubiquitous and data sources have become more varied, notably as administrative data are harnessed. Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) – despite its biases and limitations – is easing access to, organization of, and interpretation of, these data.

In this context, it has been suggested that policymaking can respond to changing social and economic situations more rapidly and accurately.

This may be the case. However, it does not adequately address a perennial limit of all data, big or small, that continues to impact policy: however much data are available and however well they are compiled, the information they convey declines in quality as one focuses on smaller communities.

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