The modern economy has never been more reliant on data. But discretionary budget cuts could dramatically affect federal data collection, costing the economy more money than it saves, according to Northwestern University Professor Diane Schanzenbach, director of the Hamilton Project and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
In an opinion piece published in “The Hill,” Schanzenbach and Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, argued that cutting the budgets of government statistical agencies would hurt “the ability of businesses and government to make critical decisions that affect all our lives, and our pocketbooks.”
The federal data collection agencies do important, valuable work at a relatively small cost – only about one-fifth of 1 percent of the federal budget, according to the article.
“Although business decisions rely heavily on official government data, the importance of data to business seems less understood than it should be,” Schanzenbach and Strain wrote in The Hill.
To help businesses understand the value of federal data, Schanzenbach, Strain, Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, and Ryan Nunn, policy director for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, coauthored a joint report called “In Order That They Might Rest Their Arguments on Facts: The Vital Role of Government Collected Data.”
Schanzenbach, currently on leave from Northwestern, is professor of Human Development and Social Policy and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research.
Read the entire opinion piece, “America’s small investment in government data has big payoff.”