Published on May 25th, 2016 | by Daniel Castro

Using Big Data to Measure Europe’s Economy

Timely access to information is crucial for informed decisionmaking, but official government statistics are often months or years old by the time they are published. In addition, government statistics can be expensive to produce, burdensome on respondents, and sometimes even inaccurate or imprecise—all factors which limit their usefulness to policymakers, businesses, and others. To address this problem, some researchers are experimenting with using alternative data sources to complement or replace traditional government statistics. For example, “The Billion Prices Project @ MIT” collects data from hundreds of retailers across more than 70 countries to produce daily statistics on inflation and exchange rates.

Join the Center for Data Innovation for a panel discussion with invited economists, statisticians, and policymakers about the possibility of using alternative data sources and methods to improve the quality and timeliness of government data. In addition, at this event, ETLA, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, will present a new study that demonstrates the feasibility of using data from search engines to predict unemployment.

Date and Time:

  • Wednesday, May 25, 2016, from 6:00-7:30 PM (CET)


  • Altiero Spinelli Building – Room A3G-3, European Parliament, Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Brussels

Note: Please be at Simone Veil entrance by 5:30 PM and bring an identity card or passport.


  • Miapetra Kumpula-Natri MEP
  • Paul MacDonnell (Moderator)
  • Petri Rouvinen, ETLA
  • Lucy Sioli, Head of Unit, European Semester & Knowledge Base, European Commission
  • Joonas Tuhkuri, ETLA

Additional speakers to be announced.

About the Author

Daniel Castro is the director of the Center for Data Innovation and vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Mr. Castro writes and speaks on a variety of issues related to information technology and internet policy, including data, privacy, security, intellectual property, internet governance, e-government, and accessibility for people with disabilities. His work has been quoted and cited in numerous media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, USA Today, Bloomberg News, and Businessweek. In 2013, Mr. Castro was named to FedScoop’s list of “Top 25 most influential people under 40 in government and tech.” In 2015, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Mr. Castro to the Commerce Data Advisory Council.Mr. Castro previously worked as an IT analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where he audited IT security and management controls at various government agencies. He contributed to GAO reports on the state of information security at a variety of federal agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In addition, Mr. Castro was a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he developed virtual training simulations to provide clients with hands-on training of the latest information security tools. He has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.S. in Information Security Technology and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

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