The Statistics Newsletter For the ex tended OECD s tatis tic al net work
FEATURING + Three ways a well-being lens can aid COVID-19 recovery + Using commercial data sources to project foreign direct investment flows during the COVID-19 pandemic + Communicating COVID-19: what are NSOs doing?
THE LATEST COMPARE YOUR INCOME TACKLING COVID-19: OECD RESOURCES oe.cd/statisticsnewsletter Issue No. 72, July 2020
Contents Three ways a well-being lens can aid COVID-19 recovery
Lara Fleischer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD
Using commercial data sources to project foreign direct investment flows during the COVID-19 pandemic
Maria Borga (email@example.com), Perla Ibarlucea Flores (firstname.lastname@example.org), Emilie Kothe (email@example.com), and Monika Sztajerowska (firstname.lastname@example.org), Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD
Communicating COVID-19: what are NSOs doing? Yu Tia (email@example.com), Julia Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Archita Misra (email@example.com), Paris21, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD
The Statistics Newsletter is published by the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate. This issue and previous issues can be downloaded from http://oe.cd/statisticsnewsletter To receive the OECD Statistics Newsletter by email, you can sign up at https://oe.cd/statsnews-signup Follow us on
Editor-in-Chief: Paul Schreyer Editors: Nadim Ahmad and Peter van de Ven Editorial and technical support: Martine Zaïda and Sonia Primot Contact us at SDD.CommTeam@oecd.org
2 The OECD Statistics Newsletter - Issue No. 72, July 2020
Three ways a well-being lens can aid COVID-19 recovery Lara Fleischer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD
t the beginning of March, the OECD launch of How’s Life?) wrote recently: “The questions launched its flagship report How’s Life? about what matters to us; what we value now and in 2020, which draws on over 80 indicators the future; what our governments measure, balance to track whether life is getting better for and prioritise; what evidence informs this decisionpeople in 37 OECD countries and 4 partner making, and how much say we have in that process, countries (Figure 1). Since then, the world as we know it are immediate and urgent. The answers are going to has changed dramatically, with a global pandemic that matter a great deal in the days, months and years ahead” has claimed close to 400 000 lives so far, and brought (Davidson, 20201). There are at least three ways in which about huge shifts in the way we live. While How’s Life? a well-being lens can help governments in the recovery 2020 pointed to slow progress in some areas of wellphases of COVID-19: being and persistent inequalities, it also highlighted many positive developments since 2010: life expectancy across First: Identify pre-existing vulnerabilities to target support OECD countries increased by more than one year, and between 2010 and 2017, household disposable income has shown an increase by 6 percent, while employment The short- and medium-term impacts of COVID-19 rates rose by approximately 5 percentage points. In increase the vulnerability of the most disadvantaged the latest year on record, almost eight out of every ten and risk compounding socio-economic divides. These adults in the OECD had a vulnerabilities stretch across Figure 1. The OECD Well-being Framework paid job, and the average most of the 11 dimensions of CURRENT WELL-BEING annual household income current well-being in How’s Key dimensions How we measure them was approximately USD Life? 2020 (Figure 2). For Subjective Well-being Income and Wealth 28,000. Surveys also instance, life was already = + suggested that people in financially precarious in Safety Work and Job Quality Averages Inequalities between 2018 were more satisfied many places before COVIDHousing Work-life Balance groups with their lives relative to 19 hit: in 2018, 12% of the Health Social Connections how they felt in 2013. Many population across OECD Knowledge and Skills Civil Engagement Inequalities between Deprivations of these well-being gains, countries lived in relative top and bottom Environment Quality performers long awaited after the 2008 income poverty, while the financial crisis, are likely to share of those reporting RESOURCES FOR FUTURE WELL-BEING Key dimensions How we measure them have now been wiped out, difficulties making ends as economies have come meet in European OECD Stocks Flows Human Capital Natural Capital to a halt worldwide and countries was almost twice Economic Capital Social Capital health systems struggle to as high, at 21%. One in five Risk factors Resilience keep up with the impacts low-income households Source: OECD (2020), How's Life? 2020 - Measuring Well-being, OECD Publishing, Paris, of COVID-19. spend more than 40% of https://doi.org/10.1787/9870c393-en their disposable income Some might argue that governments have more on rents and mortgage costs. Further, more than 1 in important things to focus on right now than people’s 3 people in OECD countries are financially insecure, well-being. This would be short-sighted. While shortmeaning they lack financial assets to keep their family term policies are needed to save lives and livelihoods above the poverty line for more than 3 months, should today, a simplistic framing of the debate in terms of public their income suddenly stop. health vs economic recovery risks losing sight of other Living conditions at home, where most people are aspects of what matters to people’s lives. It would also asked to stay now, is also less than ideal for some: ignore the debate on what kind of society we want to see 1 in 8 households in the OECD live in overcrowded emerging after this crisis. As Sarah Davidson (CEO of conditions, almost 1 in 14 poor families do not have the Carnegie UK Trust and one of the panellists at the
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access to basic sanitation, and 1 in 7 households lack high-speed internet, making tele-working, education from home, social distancing and maintaining hygiene standards difficult. Lastly, 16% of adults and 13% of 15-year old students in OECD countries perform poorly on cognitive skills tests, potentially making it harder to find quality employment in the possibly more restricted post-COVID job market. Figure 2. In what ways are people and households in the OECD vulnerable?
Civic engage ment
Selected deprivations in current well-being, OECD average, % of reference population
Having no say in government
Lack of social support
Knowledge and Subjective wellskills Health being
Low life satisfaction
Subjective well-being Negative affect balance
Students with low skills
Knowledge and skills Adults with low skills Poor households without access to basic sanitation Overcrowding rate
Households without high-speed internet access
Income and wealth
Housing cost overburden
Income and wealth
Second: Shed a light on areas not on the immediate radar of government A well-being lens can highlight the issues that matter most in people’s lives, some of which are not always at the forefront of decision makers’ minds. For example, quality of life includes people’s relationships, which can provide a vital lifeline in times of crises and social distancing. Yet, across OECD countries, 1 in 11 people say they do not have relatives or friends they can count on for help in times of need (Figure 2). Considerable risks of social isolation and loneliness for both physical and mental health need to be addressed by policy measures, for instance through regular check-ins by social services, civil society and volunteers, and the promotion of digital technologies for connecting families with each other and with public services (OECD, 2020⁴). People aged 50 and over are almost three times more likely to lack social support, relative to the young (Figure 3). Thus, in addition to being more physically vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, older people are more socially vulnerable as well.
Low satisfaction with personal relationships
There is growing evidence that socio-economically disadvantaged groups such as low-wage workers, those living with the threat of domestic abuse, and ethnic minorities are particularly affected by COVID-19 in terms of both death rates and well-being impacts (Brooks, 20202; OECD, 20203; OECD, 20204; ONS, 20205). In addition, COVID-19 has been found to be much more fatal for men (Brookings Institute, 20206). Taking these pre-existing inequalities into account can help policy makers to determine who will need help the most, and design and target policies accordingly.
Relative income poverty
Difficulty making ends meet
Note: Financial insecurity refers to the share of individuals who are not income poor, but whose liquid financial assets are insufficient to support them at the level of the national relative income poverty line for at least three months; difficulty making ends meet refers to the share of household self-reporting so; relative income poverty refers to the share of people with household disposable income below 50% of the national median; housing cost overburden refers to the share of households in the bottom 40% of the income distribution spending more than 40% of their disposable income on housing costs; the overcrowding rate refers to the share of households living in overcrowded conditions (EU definition); households without high-speed internet refers to the share of households without broadband internet access at home; poor households without access to basic sanitary facilities refers to the share of households below 50% of median equivalised disposable household income without indoor flushing toilet for the sole use of their household; adults and students with low skills refers to the share of adults who score at or below Level 1 in both PIAAC literacy and numeracy as well as the share of 15-year-old students who score below Level 2 in PISA mathematics, reading and science; depressive symptoms refers to the share of the population 15 years and over reporting having experienced a range of depressive symptoms in the past two weeks; negative affect balance refers to the share of the population reporting more negative than positive feelings on the previous day; low satisfaction with life and with personal relationships refer to the share of the population rating their satisfaction as 4 or lower (on a 0-10 scale); lack of social support refers to the share of people reporting having no having friends or relatives to count on in times of trouble; and having no say in government refers to the share of people aged 16-65 who feel they have no say in what the government does. Difficulty making ends meet and depressive symptoms refer to European countries only. Source: OECD (2020), How's Life? 2020 - Measuring Well-being, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9870c393-en
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Since important drivers of subjective well-being, such as health conditions, employment and social connectedness are at risk, the current pandemic will affect people’s mental states, anxiety and stress. In 2018, around 7% of people suffered from very low life satisfaction in OECD countries, and 1 in 8 people experienced more negative than positive feelings on a typical day (OECD, 20207). Evidence from France, the United Kingdom and the United States points to the share of those reporting low life satisfaction increasing to more than 20% in March; those with existing mental health issues, including young people, experiencing worsening of symptoms during the COVID-19 outbreak; and people who are financially vulnerable experiencing more psychological distress than others (Keeter, 20208; Coconel, 20209; ONS, 202010; Young Minds, 202011).
Figure 3. Older people have less social support Share of people reporting that they have relatives or friends that they can count on to help them in times of need, by age, percentage, 2010-18 pooled data 15-29 years
100 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 Source: OECD (2020), How's Life? 2020 - Measuring Well-being, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9870c393-en
Third: Build greater resilience in the systems that support well-being over time The crisis can provide useful lessons for longerterm change to support the recovery and prepare for future shocks. How’s Life? looks at four types of capitals (economic, natural, human and social) that represent the systemic resources and risk factors that affect well-being over time. It remains to be seen whether possible structural changes (less travel for business and commuting, changing global production arrangements) will be permanent enough in nature to affect environmental sustainability positively. Zooming in on social capital (the societal norms, shared values and institutional arrangements that foster co-operation), it is clear that trust in others and in public institutions are both protective factors against systemic shocks like the current
pandemic, and can be at risk in times of crisis. Research from the United States indicates that the Spanish flu led to long-term declines in interpersonal trust, and that COVID-19 fatalities were lower in counties with higher levels of trust (Aassve et al., 202012; Borgonovi, 202013). After a general deterioration in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, trust in institutions improved by 3 percentage points across OECD countries between 2010 and 2018, although still less than half of the population (43%) trusts their national government. More recent evidence from six OECD countries (Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, Korea and the United States) suggests that institutional trust might have risen during the pandemic (Behm, 202014), but could nevertheless remain fragile in the months ahead.
Figure 4. Trust in government has been unstable since the global financial crisis Share of the population responding “yes” to a question about confidence in the national government, percentage 2010-12
90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Source: OECD (2020), How's Life? 2020 - Measuring Well-being, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9870c393-en
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OECD governments will have to put people first in the aftermath of the crisis to maintain trust going forward. For more information, including dedicated country profiles for each OECD member state’s well-being performance: www.oecd.org/howslife. For an initial overview of the broad range of effects that COVID-19 will have on different aspects of people’s lives: www.oecd.org/inclusive-growth/resources/COVID-19Protecting-people-and-societies.pdf..
peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/ bulletins/coronaviruscovid19relateddeathsbyoccupationenglandandwales/ deathsregistereduptoandincluding20april2020. 6. Brookings Institute (2020), “COVID-19 much more fatal for men, especially taking age into account”, https:// www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/05/15/ covid-19-much-more-fatal-for-men-especially-taking-age-into-account/. 7. OECD (2020), How’s Life? 2020 - Measuring Well-being, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9870c393-en. 8. Keeter, S. (2020), People financially affected by COVID-19 outbreak are experiencing more psychological distress than others, Pew Research Center, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/30/ people-financially-affected-by-covid-19-outbreak-are-experiencing-more-psychological-distress-than-others/.
9. Coconel (2020), COronavirus et CONfinement : Enquête Longitudinale, http://www.orspaca.org/sites/default/files/coconel-vague2.pdf.
1. Davidson, S. (2020), The importance of well-being, Carnegie UK Trust, https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/blog/the-importance-of-wellbeing/.
10. ONS (2020), Personal and economic well-being in Great Britain: May 2020, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/ bulletins/personalandeconomicwellbeingintheuk/may2020.
2. Brooks, R. (2020), African Americans struggle with disproportionate COVID death toll, National Geographic, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/ history/2020/04/coronavirus-disproportionately-impacts-african-americans/. 3. OECD (2020), Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/ women-at-the-core-of-the-fight-against-covid-19-crisis/. 4. OECD (2020), COVID-19: Protecting people and societies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/inclusive-growth/resources/COVID19-Protecting-people-and-societies.pdf. 5. ONS (2020), “Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by occupation, England and Wales: deaths registered up to and including 20 April 2020”, https://www.ons.gov.uk/
11. Young Minds (2020), Coronavirus having major impact on young people with mental health needs – new survey, https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/ media-centre/press-releases/coronavirus-having-major-impact-on-youngpeople-with-mental-health-needs-new-survey/. 12. Aassve, A. et al. (2020), Pandemics and social capital: From the Spanish flu of 1918-19 to COVID-19, VOX Cepr Policy Journal, https://voxeu.org/ article/pandemics-and-social-capital. 13. Borgonovi, F. (2020), “Bowling Together by Bowling Alone? Social Capital and Covid-19”, No. forthcoming. 14. Behm, A. (2020), “Trust is back - and it’s governments we’re putting our faith in”, The Sydney Morning Herald.
New edition of Compare Your Income aims to help align COVID-19 recovery strategies with citizens’ perceptions and priorities Compare your Income is a web-based interactive tool that allows people to explore income statistics and compare how well or badly off they are, and test whether their perceptions are in line with the actual situation in their country. People’s willingness to support policy is shaped in part by their perception of where they stand in society and what their prospects are. With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring unprecedented policy responses, the new edition of the tool explores how people’s perceptions of inequality impact their willingness to support redistribution and asks what areas they would prioritise for public spending.
Have your say: www.compareyourincome.org
6 The OECD Statistics Newsletter - Issue No. 72, July 2020
Using commercial data sources to project foreign direct investment flows during the COVID-19 pandemic Maria Borga (email@example.com), Perla Ibarlucea Flores (firstname.lastname@example.org), Emilie Kothe (email@example.com), and Monika Sztajerowska (firstname.lastname@example.org), Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD
oreign direct investment (FDI) can play an and expected earnings in the first half of 2020.4 In the important role in supporting economies during first half of 2020, earnings of large MNEs are expected the COVID-19 outbreak and in the ensuing to fall, but the impact varies greatly across sectors. recovery. Evidence from past crises has shown Refinitiv found that large year-on-year drops in earnings that foreign-owned firms can be more resilient in the energy, consumer discretionary, industrials, and during crises thanks to their linkages with, and access materials sectors are expected.5 On the other hand, 1 to the financial resources of, their parent companies. year-on-year increases in earnings are expected in the Multinational enterprises (MNEs) are generally larger, health care, technology, and communications sectors. more research and development intensive, and more The share of earnings investors choose to reinvest is productive than domestic firms. As such, not only also likely to fall. Historical FDI data show that the share are they, in general, better able to of earnings reinvested generally lies mitigate the impact of the pandemic In the first half of 2020, between 37% and 51%, but during but through strong domestic supply earnings of large MNEs the 2008 financial crisis, the share of chains, they also play an important role earnings that were reinvested fell by are expected to fall, about half, from 45% in 2007 to 24% in supporting upstream jobs and wages throughout the host economy. Because but the impact varies in 2008. actions taken by policymakers can greatly across sectors. have significant impacts on FDI, they Equity capital is often associated with need up-to-date information on FDI flows as well as on new investments, such as mergers and acquisitions possible future developments to guide their decisions. (M&As) or greenfield. The latest data on cross-border M&As from the Refinitiv database show a significant However, there is a lag in the availability of official drop in completed deals in the first quarter of 2020 statistics of about 3 months. By combining commercial (Figure 1), but there is no evidence of an increase in data sources with our historical FDI database, this note withdrawn deals. Instead, there has been an increase presents more timely estimates of global FDI flows for in pending deals. This means that direct investors, the first half of 2020 and also projections through to thus far, are not trying to abandon deals that they the end of 2021, based on different scenarios on the have negotiated but are holding off on closing them success of public health and economic support policies until there is less uncertainty. This will lead to a that countries have taken to address the pandemic significant drop in equity capital flows in the current and economic recession. More detailed results and a period. While cross-border M&As play an important description of the methodology are available in our note role in advanced economies, greenfield investments 2 FDI flows in the time of COVID-19. tend to be more important in emerging and developing economies. Announced greenfield investments The two most important components of FDI flows are also saw a big decrease in the first quarter of 2020 reinvested earnings and equity capital flows; together (Figure 1). Since equity capital flows are presented on 3 they accounted for 86% of FDI flows in 2019. The a net basis, divestments of foreign affiliates by direct analysis examines the impacts on these flows separately investors decrease equity capital flows. Debt levels and as they will likely differ over time and under the different financial health of direct investors are important drivers scenarios. Reinvested earnings is the portion of earnings of divestments, so they tend to increase during crises.6 that the parent decides to reinvest in the affiliate There is unlikely to be a large increase in divestments rather than receive as a dividend. The estimates use in the first half of 2020 as firms will hold off if possible. information from Refinitiv on trends in companiesâ€™ actual
Issue No. 72, July 2020 - The OECD Statistics Newsletterâ€ƒ 7
Figure 1. Completed M&A deals and announced greenfield projects, Q1 2018 – Q1 2020 USD billion
Completed M&A deals OECD
Announced greenfield FDI projects
Source: Author’s calculations from Refinitiv M&A database and from Financial Times fDi Markets (2020).
All of these factors will lead to a significant drop in FDI flows in the first half of 2020 (Figure 2). What happens beyond that will depend on the success of the measures taken by governments to address the pandemic and support their economies. We considered three possible scenarios. Under the optimistic scenario, public health and economic support policies are very effective and the economy starts to grow in the second half of 2020. Under the middle scenario, these policies are only partially effective and the economic recovery is uneven. Under the pessimistic scenario, these policies are ineffective, leading to a lingering recession. Under the optimistic scenario, FDI flows fall between 30% and 40% in 2020 before recovering to pre-crisis levels at the end of 2021. Under this scenario, earnings return to pre-crisis levels as the economy recovers, and the share that is reinvested returns to historical levels. Equity capital flows recover as
almost all of the previously announced M&A deals and greenfield projects are completed. While there might be a drop in the medium term due to the dearth of new investments being negotiated at the current time, new investments will return to normal in 2021. Divestments would remain at historical levels.
Under the middle scenario, FDI flows would fall 35% to 45% in 2020 before recovering somewhat in 2021 but would remain about one-third below pre-crisis levels. While earnings in some sectors recover, they remain below pre-crisis levels in others; the share of earnings reinvested rises but not to historical levels. Equity capital flows will be subdued as announced M&A deals and greenfield projects that still make strategic sense are completed, but more deals are abandoned. In addition, there will be a continuing slump in new deals despite some financially stronger firms capitalising on attractive prices to make foreign Figure 2. FDI Flows under Different Scenarios on the Effectiveness of Public Health and Economic Policy Measures acquisitions. Divestments by firms Base:H2 2019 = 1 that are struggling financially would also put downward pressure Optimistic Middle Pessimistic 1.5 on equity capital flows. Under the pessimistic scenario, FDI flows would drop by more than 40% in 2020 and would be flat until 1 the end of 2021. Earnings would remain depressed as would the share of earnings reinvested. Equity capital flows would be significantly 0.5 reduced as many of the announced M&A deals and greenfield projects are called off, and new M&As and greenfield investments would be 0 H1
Source: OECD FDI statistics database and OECD projections
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depressed. Divestments by struggling firms would be more common, including more liquidations. The COVID-19 pandemic poses particular challenges for the compilation of FDI statistics because they often rely on business surveys, which may be disrupted by the pandemic. Commercial data sources could help fill gaps in data sources. For example, commercial sources, such as Refinitiv, can provide information on transactions, such as M&As, completed during the period. In addition, many countries estimate quarterly reinvested earnings using models, which may result in large revisions if the models are not well equipped to deal with shocks, such as that caused by the current crisis. Commercial data on corporate earnings, either by sector or for a selection of large firms that drive the movements in FDI in that country, could be used to improve or to replace estimates from models. However, commercial data sources should be used with care. For example, earnings included in official FDI statistics exclude items, such as holding gains and losses, which are included in earnings statistics in financial accounting.
References 1. See Alfaro, L. and M. Chen (2012), “Surviving the Global Financial Crisis: Foreign Ownership and Establishment Performance,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 4(3): 30-55, and Desai, Mihir, C. Fritz Foley, and Kristin J. Forbes (2008), “Financial Constraints and Growth: Multinational and Local Firm Responses to Currency Depreciation,” Review of Financial Studies, 21 (6):2857-88. 2. OECD (2020), Foreign direct investment flows in the time of COVID-19, https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=132_132646g8as4msdp9&title=Foreign-direct-investment-flows-in-the-time-of-COVID-19. 3. The third component of FDI flows, intracompany debt, is the smallest and most volatile. It is often driven by the short term financing needs within a company rather than larger overall macroeconomic phenomena, and, so is often the most difficult aspect of FDI flows to explain. 4. Refinitiv (2020), S&P 500 Earnings Scorecard, March 30, 2020. 5. The consumer discretionary sector includes food and accommodation, apparel, and entertainment spending by households; industrials covers much of the manufacturing sector; and materials includes non-energy commodities and the manufacture of some intermediate inputs. 6. Borga, M., P. Ibarlucea Flores and M. Sztajerowska (2020), "Drivers of divestment decisions of multinational enterprises - A cross-country firm-level perspective", OECD Working Papers on International Investment, No. 2019/03, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/5a376df4-en.
Purchasing Power Parities and the real size of world economies The International Comparison Program (ICP) recently released new data showing that the OECD share in world GDP, expressed in Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs), stabilised at around 50% between 2011 and 2017 (latest benchmark year). Similarly, the share of large emerging economies (China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and South Africa) also stabilised at around 30% of world GDP. The United States and China were the world’s largest economies in 2017, each accounting for around 16% of global GDP. The third largest economy was India, with 6.7% of world GDP. The ICP, in which the OECD participates, is the largest worldwide statistical partnership. For more information on the new data, visit: www.oecd.org/sdd/prices-ppp/oecd-share-in-world-gdp-stable-at-around-50-per-cent-inppp-terms-in-2017.htm.
Shares in World GDP in PPPs, 2017 (%)
United States 16.3%
Rest of the world 19.2%
South Africa 0.6%
O E C D
Indonesia 2.4% Brazil 2.5% Russian Federation 3.2% India 6.7%
Germany 3.7% United Kingdom 2.5% France 2.5% Italy 2.1% Turkey 1.9%
Other OECD 7.6%
Issue No. 72, July 2020 - The OECD Statistics Newsletter 9
Digital workspace for official statistics & COVID-19: Now and after the crisis A digital workspace was created at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow national statistical agencies, both statistical offices and central banks, to exchange best practices and experiences, including: innovative approaches being applied to counter the impact of missing source data, short-cuts being applied to approximate economic and societal developments, how methodological and conceptual problems are being dealt with, how user demands are addressed, what impact on the timeliness of statistics, and so on.
Working in a statistical institution and are interested in learning more? Contact us at: SDD.CommTeam@oecd.org.
What are the impacts and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on our lives and our societies â€“ and what are some of the solutions we can find to boost our healthcare systems, secure our businesses, maintain our jobs and education, and stabilise financial markets and economies?
10â€ƒ The OECD Statistics Newsletter - Issue No. 72, July 2020
BROWSE ALL OECD RESOURCES www.oecd.org/coronavirus/en
Communicating COVID-19: what are NSOs doing? Yu Tia (email@example.com), Julia Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Archita Misra (email@example.com), Paris21, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD
s the world continues to deal with the ramifications of COVID-19, national statistical offices (NSOs) are being called on to provide timely and high quality statistics to inform response and recovery measures. Many NSOs are increasingly turning to social media, Twitter in particular, to communicate information about the crisis, yet most have waited until COVID-19 was well-established in the country before tweeting about it.
To understand how NSOs are communicating during the pandemic, PARIS21 analysed their main communication channel, Twitter. Using data extracted from active Twitter timelines of 90 NSOs worldwide1 from January 2020 until 07 May 2020, PARIS21 seeks to better understand how NSOs are communicating data and statistics through this platform with the public.
The COVID-19 communication challenge for NSOs
Tweets, endorsements and retweets via the official accounts of NSOs are an important channel to track engagement with the public. During the COVID-19 crisis, tweets are a particularly suitable instrument for communication because they cover the most relevant topics, are updated frequently, reach a wide audience and are published in an easily accessible format.
Communicating in a modern data ecosystem
As a primary source and key custodian of data in countries, NSOs play a vital role in disseminating high quality information to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, yet they are being increasingly squeezed. On top of their data collection and reporting on standard economic and social indicators, NSOs are being asked The analysis revealed four key insights on NSO to disseminate new data, while at the same time facing communication patterns on social media. operational restrictions related to confinement and social distancing measures and the disruption of field-based 1. NSOs communicate more frequently on COVID-19 data collection. Further, communication capacities vary via Twitter than on their official websites across countries because of differences in contexts and statistical capacity. While some NSOs are already When comparing communication via traditional NSO familiar with providing ad-hoc information and services, websites with Twitter, the analysis shows that Twitter is by often through digital channels, many others, particularly far the preferred channel to react to the COVID-19 crisis. Box: Communicating in times of crisis â€“ National statistical offices fall behind in providing information in developing countries, are facing challenges associated By 7 May, 2020, 63% of 131 NSO websites analysed Demand and supply NSSs can also be reflected in the communication patterns of NSOs in with remote workshocks andtolimited IT capabilities. by PARIS21 had published information related to the developing countries. Only 49 out of 151 NSO websites analysed by PARIS21 currently publish any 2 pandemic on information related to the pandemic in their homepages. Even as governments increasingly adopt moretheir homepages (see Figure 1). Further stringent containment measures, the majority of NSOs in Africa, Latin America and Asia do not provide scrutiny underscored the limitations any COVID-specific information on available data sources or operational effects on production. Figure 1: COVID-19 related content on the official website ofdata NSOs as of 7 May of existing content: nearly one-third of the information on the websites were general announcements by NSOs on their programmes of work and reposts of press releases by their governments. Interestingly, websites of many NSOs in Africa, Latin America and Asia do not provide any COVID-specific information on available data sources or operational effects on data production. Information not available
No COVID-19 information on NSO website
COVID-19 information on NSO website
Note: This map is for illustrative purposes and is without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory covered by this map. The data is web-scraped from NSO websites as of 03.04.2020.
Figure 2: NSOs communicate heterogeneously on COVID-19 (Source: PARIS21, 2020)
Issue No. 72, July 2020 - The OECD Statistics Newsletterâ€ƒ 11
Figure 2: Percentage of NSO Twitter accounts with information related to Furthermore, the review of over COVID-19, by regions 200,000 tweets from 90 NSOs3 showed that by 7 May 2020, 72% (64 out of 90) of NSOs had tweeted Europe and North America information on COVID-19, a higher percentage than the share of Asia Pacific websites (65%) in the same sample of countries. These 64 countries posted 337 tweets on average since Latin America and the Caribbean the beginning of 2020, of which 34 Africa tweets were related to COVID-19. The Office of National Statistics 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% of the UK leads other NSOs in the Posted tweets about COVID-19 No tweets about COVID-19 number and share of COVID-19 tweets (172 out of 936), while the Dirección General de Estadística, Encuestas y Censos the topic slightly decreased since April, possibly because (DGEEC) of Paraguay leads non-OECD countries in the pandemic has become the “norm” and words such number and share of tweets (58 out of 469). NSOs as “crisis”, “COVID-19” or “coronavirus” are not explicitly in Europe and the Americas are more likely to tweet included in tweets anymore. In comparison, the second COVID-related information, while Africa has the lowest most popular topic, economic statistics, decreased in percentage of NSOs doing so (see Figure 2). Twitter references since February, despite the normally
The reference to actual statistical information in NSO Twitter content is significantly higher than on the respective NSO websites. Only 4 out of the 64 accounts tweeted non-statistical information. Analysis on the information contained in each tweet is detailed further below. 2. COVID-19 tops the charts as the most frequently featured topic on NSO Twitter communications in 2020 The analysis also found that around 9% of all tweets by NSOs in 2020 mentioned COVID-19 or “coronavirus”, making COVID-19 the most frequently discussed topic in the Twitter timelines of NSOs. While references to COVID-19 were hardly used in January, the impact of the virus on NSO communications was the most profound in March, with about 20% of tweets about the pandemic (see Figure 3). The percentage of direct references to
attention-grabbing releases of annual economic indicators of the previous year in Q1.4
3. Most NSOs reacted rather slowly on social media to the pandemic When compared with the government actions on closing schools and workplaces due to the crisis, the analysis found that for the 50 countries who have implemented some type of restrictions5, NSOs take on average 14 days after the announcement of these restrictions to tweet about COVID-19 for the first time. (see figure 4)6,7,8. While NSOs in countries such as Germany, Malaysia and Denmark proactively tweeted about COVID-19 more than 25 days before lockdown in their countries, 7 NSOs took more than 40 days after the lockdown to communicate COVID-19 related information on Twitter.
A first explanation may be that NSOs were simply too busy mitigating negative effects of the crisis on their daily statistical operations Figure 3: Percentage of tweets related to COVID-19 and economic statistics and thus started tweeting only at a later stage. In many NSOs, 25 especially in developing countries, 20 human resources are scarce and communication is a secondary 15 priority. Moreover, NSOs might 10 have assumed that communication responsibility on the crisis lies with 5 the public health ministry, and may 0 have only reacted on Twitter when Feb Feb Feb Feb Mar Mar Mar Mar Mar April April April April May May Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week government measures affected the 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 1 2 NSO directly. COVID-19
12 The OECD Statistics Newsletter - Issue No. 72, July 2020
Figure 4: Number of days for NSOs to post the first COVID-19 related tweets after the lockdown policy in the respective countries 18
Number of NSOs
16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
0-7 days post
7-14 days post
14-21 days post > 21 days post
Pre-or-post lockdown: When was the first COVID-19-related tweet shared by the NSO?
In a second scenario, NSOs might have reacted via Twitter influenced by the global trend, and not so much by national perceptions. Most of the early tweets on COVID19 happened during the first three weeks of March, when several countries started to implement social-distancing and confinement policies. Further analysis shows that the number of NSOs who start tweeting about COVID-19 for the first time appears similar to the logarithmic trend of the number of confirmed cases worldwide. 4. Most tweets published by NSOs about confirmed cases at national and sub-national level Among the total 1876 tweets related to COVID-19, 83% of all tweets found on NSO Twitter timelines related to the number of cases in the countries, or to press releases from governments on their policy responses and the impact on NSO’s activities. These tweets also included the total number of cases and deaths at the sub-national level or in different demographic groups. Most data in these tweets were compiled by either the NSO or the ministry of health. A less common type of information, 8% of all tweets, refers to data on how the crisis has impacted employment, prices, tourism, the overall economy and people’s daily life. An even smaller number of tweets refers to effects on public survey requests. Discussion and results on alternative data also represent a very small share (5%) of the tweets. The low percentage of tweets on data beyond the number of cases may be due to the dual shock on both demand for and supply of statistics9 in these countries. As many socio-economic indicators for Q1 are due to be released in late-May and June, NSOs may face challenges to communicate these results, including explaining the impact of the pandemic to the public; informing them about the alternative methods used; and avoiding user misinterpretations.
Conclusion Dissemination and communication of statistical products is part of the core mandate of an NSO. During the COVID-19 crisis, NSOs all over the world are facing hurdles to keep up with core statistical production, let alone communicating quickly and accurately to ensure that citizens are informed with disaggregated, timely and high quality socio-economic information. Yet effective communication strategies for NSOs are key ingredients to interact with data users and enhance trust in data and evidence amidst a global pandemic. This is particularly crucial as COVID-19 has been described as an “infodemic” by the WHO, characterised by abundance of information from myriad sources. It is therefore vital that NSOs react quickly and accurately to address a large variety of public and private stakeholders to produce and communicate on trusted, high quality data. Evaluating Twitter posts from the onset of the pandemic shows that NSOs have communicated rather late regarding the crisis, with content largely focusing on basic data on confirmed cases, but not on statistical production issues or capacity needs. The coming months will be crucial to shed light on the mediumterm effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on NSOs and their communication strategies. By the end of Q2 2020, many quarterly indicators are due to be published. NSOs will face many challenges in communication, including informing the data users on the impact caused by the shock in source data collection and avoiding possible misinterpretation on the socio-economic impact of the crisis. The work presented in this article sketches a pathway to understand the communication of NSOs worldwide, and eventually help them to learn from each other. Further analysis may explore the reasons for the delayed
Issue No. 72, July 2020 - The OECD Statistics Newsletter 13
social media communication after certain milestones of the crisis. It is also worth examining whether NSOs have crisis communication strategies in place to inform the public about delays, potential changes in survey samples or adaptation of collection instruments. As part of PARIS21’s systematic response10 to the crisis, this analysis will be broadened along these lines, and updated automatically, with the raw data and results made available online.11 PARIS21 will also expand the coverage of this indicator to more NSOs, development co-operation agencies and national news media. Want to know more on this analysis? Visit PARIS21’s dedicated page on COVID-19 responses: https://paris21.org/news-center/news/ Our-Response-to-COVID-19.
References 1. Another 23 accounts were detected by PARIS21 but were not used for the current analysis due to inactivity. 2. In comparison, 86% of the 193 United Nations member states included information and guidance about COVID-19 on their government websites by 8 April, according to a UN review. https://www.un.org/development/desa/ dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-61-covid-19-embracing-digital-government-during-the-pandemic-and-beyond/.
3. Most account information is found through web scraping. One may argue that if an NSO’s information online is “web scrapable”, it might have a better communication team and thus a better chance of tweeting information about COVID-19. In the future, more NSO accounts will be added to the analysis to expand the coverage and avoid bias. 4. Number of tweets related to economic statistics may increase in late-May and June due to the release of the Q1 data. 5. As defined by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, see https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/research/research-projects/ coronavirus-government-response-tracker. 6. Data on number of cases are based on the harmonised database from the Coronavirus Resource Center of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/. It should be noted that testing varies significantly across countries. Further investigation is needed to better understand this variance across countries. 7. For reference, the median number of confirmed cases per 1 million population was 16 when the NSOs posted their first tweet on COVID-19. 8. This conclusion is based on the assumption that no earlier tweet related to COVID-19 has been deleted. 9. While demand for high quality statistics rises to inform crisis response and recovery (demand side), the operational space for NSSs is becoming more constrained, limiting the supply of official statistics. The full or partial closure of workplaces with a shift to teleworking arrangements often takes place without sufficient IT solutions in place to sustain ongoing activities. In response, most NSOs have interrupted (part of) their data production and postponed field-based data collection (supply side). See more details in the PARIS21 policy brief in response to the crisis: “Combating COVID-19 with data: what role for national statistical systems?”, https://paris21.org/sites/default/files/ inline-files/COVID_Policybrief_Full.pdf?v=2.0 10. https://paris21.org/news-center/news/Our-Response-to-COVID-19. 11. Data can be find here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/q5rogxiaptnxa8c/ AACRQ50yXJDaYBcAxSmOCenYa?dl=0.
Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis The COVID-19 pandemic is harming health, social and economic well-being worldwide, with women at the centre. First and foremost, women are leading the health response: women make up almost 70% of the health care workforce, exposing them to a greater risk of infection. At the same time, women are also shouldering much of the burden at home, given school and child care facility closures and longstanding gender inequalities in unpaid work. Women also face high risks of job and income loss, and face increased risks of violence, exploitation, abuse or harassment during times of crisis and quarantine. Policy responses must be immediate, and they must account for women’s concerns. Governments should consider adopting emergency measures to help parents manage work and caring responsibilities, reinforcing and extending income support measures, expanding support for small businesses and the self-employed, and improving measure to help women victims of violence. Fundamentally, all policy responses to the crisis must embed a gender lens and account for women’s unique needs, responsibilities and perspectives. Read the full policy brief and find out more on the OECD’s work on gender: www.oecd.org/gender
14 The OECD Statistics Newsletter - Issue No. 72, July 2020
Recent publications OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2020 Issue 1 The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis without precedent in living memory. It has triggered the most severe economic recession in nearly a century and is causing enormous damage to people’s health, jobs and well-being.
The Outlook focuses on two equally probable scenarios – one in which a second wave of infections, with renewed lock-downs, hits before the end of 2020, and one in which another major outbreak
OECD (2020), OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2020 Issue 1: Preliminary version, OECD Publishing, Paris. www.oecd.org/economic-outlook.
Global Energy Review 2020 In response to the exceptional circumstances stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the annual IEA Global Energy Review has expanded its coverage to include real-time analysis of developments to date in 2020 and possible directions for the rest of the year. In addition to reviewing 2019 energy and CO2 emissions data by fuel and country, for this section of the Global Energy Review we have tracked energy use by country and fuel over the past three months and in some cases – such as electricity – in real time. Some tracking will continue on a weekly basis. IEA (2020), Global Energy Review 2020: The impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on global energy demand and CO2 emissions, OECD Publishing, Paris www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2020.
Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 Health spending in Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) was about USD 1,000 per person in 2017, only ¼ of what was spent in OECD countries (adjusted for purchasing power). At the same time, health systems’ capacity is also considerably lower, including the ability to provide access to services of good quality to the most vulnerable groups. In addition, much is left to to be done to improve efficiency, effectiveness and targeting of health spending. While the LAC region is struggling to respond to the major challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a serious reflection is needed not only on how to secure more funding but also on how to spend resources better, according to a new joint OECD – World Bank report, the first Health at a Glance publication entirely dedicated to the LAC region. OECD/The World Bank (2020), Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2020, OECD Publishing, Paris. www.oecd.org/health/health-at-a-glance-latin-america-and-the-caribbean-2020-6089164f-en.htm.
Issue No. 72, July 2020 - The OECD Statistics Newsletter 15
Forthcoming meetings Unless otherwise indicated attendance at OECD meetings and working parties is by invitation only.
24-25 September 2020 2nd Workshop on Time Series Methods for Official Statistics, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD 5-9 October 2020 Meting of the Advisory Expert Group on National Accounts (AEG), Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD 7-9 October 2020 SDMX Meeting, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD 12-14 October Working Party on Indicators of Educational Systems (INES), Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD 19-23 October 2020 Regional TiVA â€“ Extended Supply and Use Tables Meeting, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD 26-27 October 2020 Meeting of the Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI), Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, OECD 26-28 October 2020 Working Group on International Investment Statistics (WGIIS), Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD 26-29 October 2020 Working Party on International Trade in Goods and Services Statistics (WPTGS), Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD 26-30 October 2020 SIS-CC Workshop, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD 2-6 November 2020
3-4 December 2020
Meeting of the Working Party on Financial Statistics (WPFS) and the Working Party on National Accounts (WPNA), Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD OECD Global Blockchain Policy Forum 2020, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD, www.oecd.org/corporate/oecd-blockchain-policy-forum.htm Formal Meeting of the DAC Working Party on Development Finance Statistics (WP-STAT), Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD 2020 Global Forum on Competition, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD
9 December 2020
Task Force on Pension Statistics, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD
14 December 2020
60th anniversary of the signature of the OECD Convention
8-9 February 2021
22-23 April 2021
Informal meeting of the DAC Working Party on Development Finance Statistics (WP-STAT), Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD Working Group on International Investment Statistics (WGIIS), Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD 5th session of the Working Party on Tourism Statistics, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD ITF International Transport Statistics, International Transport Forum
14-18 June 2021
SIS-CC Workshop, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD
21-25 June 2021
Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy (CSSP) and CES, Statistics and Data Directorate, OECD Formal Meeting of the DAC Working Party on Development Finance Statistics (WP-STAT), Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD
16-20 November 2020 19-20 November 2020
6-8 April 2021 13-15 April 2021
28-29 June 2021
Other meetings 22-23 July 2020 5 September 2020 11-12 September 2020 16 September 2020 5 October 2020 12-18 October 2020 21-22 November 2020
G20 Digital Economy Ministers Meeting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia G20 Education Ministers Meeting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia G20 Agriculture and Water Ministers Meeting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia G20 Environment Ministers Meeting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia G20 Trade Ministers Meeting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C., United States - www.worldbank.org/en/meetings/splash/annual 15th Annual Summit of G20 Leaders, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - https://g20.org/en/LeadersSummit/ Pages/default.aspx
16â€ƒ The OECD Statistics Newsletter - Issue No. 72, July 2020
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In this issue: Three ways a well-being lens can aid COVID-19 recovery; Using commercial data sources to project foreign direct investment fl...
Published on Jul 6, 2020
In this issue: Three ways a well-being lens can aid COVID-19 recovery; Using commercial data sources to project foreign direct investment fl...