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Roundtable discussion on manipulation of statistics

Roundtable discussion Manipulation of statistics. "It is easy to lie with statistics. It is hard to tell the truth without it" (Andrejs Dunkels) was held on 2 December 2016

Economists, politicians, journalists are increasingly using statistics to support their views or position. This is a positive thing because numbers themselves do not lie. However, the wrong assumptions or even obvious misrepresentation based on the correct numbers are increasingly observed. These assumptions are often accompanied by the famous expression of Mark Twain about three kinds of lies.

Statistics Lithuania, pursuant to the European Statistics Code of Practice, strictly follows the high quality standards and produces statistical information which is reliable, comparable across the EU and other countries and complies with the international requirements. Nonetheless, when persons who quote the numbers find them not comfortable enough, they blame statisticians for incorrect calculation or even representation of certain interest-groups. On the other hand, deliberate concealment of information, disregard of context and often the lack of understanding or wish to understand statistics mislead the society and undermine the confidence in official statistics.

Out of a sense of responsibility to provide impartial and accurate information to the society, ensure proper understanding and interpretation of statistics and wish to give an effective response to the attempts of manipulating official statistics, we invited analysts and business representatives, journalists and politicians to discuss this matter. The discussion covered the topics which were in the spotlight in the public space this year: price change, alcohol consumption, poverty, emigration, assessment of officially unaccounted economics.

The following guests participated in the discussion: Member of the Seimas Aušra Maldeikienė, Swedbank Analyst Nerijus Mačiulis, President of Lithuanian Free Market Institute Žilvinas Šilėnas, Editor of the supplement Bendroves Finansai (Company Finance) of business daily newspaper Verslo Zinios (Business News) Vytautas Žeimantas, Professor of the Faculty of Economics of Vilnius University Prof. Dr. Gindra Kasnauskienė, and experts of Statistics Lithuania.

The discussion was dedicated to the European Statistics Day.