Statistics in Everyday Life...
"Statistics of all"...

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december 12, 2003
Dott. Giovanni Barbieri
Central Department for Spreading Statistical Information and Literacy, ISTAT, Rome

Giovanni Barbieri Giovanni Barbieri Giovanni Barbieri

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In all of the democratic Countries, the official statistics is funded with the money of the taxpayers and made available to all citizens.  But why does it enjoy of a position similar to that of the essential public services? 
To a first look, statistics appears less necessary than sanitary attendance or public safety.  But in the truth there are many situations in which we take advantage of the statistical information in order to take decision, like that the choice of a university faculty or an important purchase:  they are situations in which it's impossible to know with certainty the outcome of our decision, thus it is important to be able to estimate the probability of the possible outcomes, on the base of a great number of similar situations.
Statistics, therefore, is useful to all.  But it's not at disposal of all, because the cost of the collection of the elementary information that then are reassumed in statistics is very high.  Consequently, if the State would not supply to produce official and public statistics - that is certified and at disposal of all - there would be disparities (informative asymmetries) between citizens that can reach the statistical information and citizens who can't.
To put to disposition of all the information of those who govern the state is also a way to allow to estimate the efficiency and the effectiveness of the public action.  For this, official statistics is an essential instrument of the democracy.

Dott. Giovanni Barbieri (Central Department for Spreading Statistical Information and Literacy, Italian National Statistical Institute ISTAT)
He is responsible for spreading statistical information and literacy at the Italina National Statistical Institute.  Before working at Istat, he has been for many years a user of official statistics, mainly in the field of the applied economy and the local development. 
This experience allowed him to test capacity and limits of the available statistical information and to take into his new work the point of view of the users, that ask data more near the everyday life problems and decisions. 

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