In The Leading Indicators, economist and investor Zachary Karabell offers a history and critique of macroeconomic indicators—statistics like gross domestic product, unemployment, and inflation, that policymakers and financiers use to forecast the economic future. Karabell argues that while these indicators have a profound influence on global politics and finance, they are easily misapplied and often too coarse to aid in highly specific forecasts. They were designed for a bygone era, he contends, before the explosion of data in the 21st century, and data’s widespread availability today may help address some of the major indicators’ problems. Karabell recommends drawing on drawing from big data sources to create “bespoke indicators” for particular business questions, less grand in scope but with more predictive power than traditional indicators.
“The Leading Indicators,” by Zachary Karabell
Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.
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