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Walter J. Rademacher

During the fourth EMOS webinar on 8 February 2023, Walter J. Rademacher gave interesting insights into the topic of "Statistics for the public good". 

The main focus of the webinar was on:

  • Data ecosystem(s) of the digital age: statistics, epistemology, conventions data worlds, trends, conceptual basis

  • What is (public) statistics? Methodology, technology, infrastructure, language, values

  • The What, the Who, the How and the For Whom?

  • Quality codes, ethical values, governance principles

  • Data literacy, data culture


Prof. Dr. Walter J. Radermacher was Director General of Eurostat and Chief Statistician of the European Union from 2008 to 2016. He worked at Destatis, the German Federal Statistical Office, for 30 years, ultimately as its President. He was the first Chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA) from 2005 to 2008 and a member of OECD’s High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress from 2013 to 2018. Since 2017 he has been a Researcher at the Department of Statistical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, and the President of FENStatS, the Federation of European National Statistical Societies, since 2020 a Lecturer in the International Program in Survey and Data Science, Mannheim University. Since 2022 he is Chair of the ISI Advisory Board on Ethics and (honorary) Professor at the Statistical Institute of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.



Webinar details

Webinar aims:

  • Statistics and the state are closely related and mutually dependent; statistics is a prerequisite for democracy and vice versa.

  • Statistical facts are produced; their design is based on conventions.

  • The quality of such statistical products is adequate when they are 'fit for purpose'.

  • Public statistics should be politically relevant without being politically driven.

  • For this to succeed, more than methodology and technology is needed, namely a public information infrastructure with a corresponding mandate and license, a common language (and literacy) for producers and users, and finally values and (good) governance.

Webinar learning outcomes:

  • To understand the interplay between statistics and politics, based on the 'Économie des Conventions'.

  • To learn about the drivers of quality of statistical information and what measures are used to manage and ensure quality.

  • To be familiar with the international and European standards in the field of ethics, governance and what efforts are currently being made to adapt them to new needs and realities.

  • To learn the structure of data literacy and a public data culture.

Prerequisites: Reading of short blog Posts as preparation

Further readings: 

Book: Radermacher, Walter J. 2020. Official Statistics 4.0 - Verified Facts for People in the 21st Century (Springer Nature, Heidelberg) 

Article: Radermacher, Walter J. (2021) Governing-by-the numbers – Résumé after one and a half years.

EMOS webinars: Walter J. Rademacher
on "Statistics for the public good"

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