Saturday, July 9, 2011

Econometrics Without Borders?

We're all familiar with the "Doctors Without Borders" organization, and the valuable international medical work that it performs. Perhaps you didn't know that there's also a group called "Statistics Without Borders"? To quote from their web site, their mission statement is as follows:

"Statistics Without Borders (SWB) is an apolitical organization under the auspices of the American Statistical Association, comprised entirely of volunteers, that provides pro bono statistical consulting and assistance to organizations and government agencies in support of these organizations' not-for-profit efforts to deal with international health issues (broadly defined)."

It's great to see The American Statistical Association, which I've been a member of for 38 years, supporting this type of venture.

Now, a new initiative, provisionally called "Data Without Borders" (DWB), has been established by data scientist, Jake Porway. You can read about it on Porway's web site, of course, and also in a recent post on The Guardian's DataBlog here. Briefly, the aim is to match important data from not-for-profit organizations with experts in the analysis of data. According to a recent item in the Royal Statistical Society's newsletter, RSSeNEWS, there were over 300 expressions of interest, internationally, within the first 24 hours of DWB being announced.

So, don't let anyone ever tell you that being a "quant" who works with data can't be socially meaningful. Even econometricians can make a difference if we want to!

© 2011, David E. Giles