Economics serving society

Measurement in Economics, Nowcasting – Beyond GDP Chair

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The “Measurement in Economics, Nowcasting - Beyond GDP” Chair is the result of an exceptional and original partnership due to the diversity and complementarity of the players who are committed to sharing and supporting their ambitions in these research areas.

It brings together the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), whose work in these fields is authoritative, a start-up offering macroeconomic forecasts based on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (QuantCube Technology), an international asset management company (CANDRIAM) and a major French bank (Société Générale), that together intend to develop their methods of economic measurement and analysis, and a research and teaching center (Paris School of Economics) that has always been committed to a quantified and statistical approach in economics.

- Press release of the launch of the Chair “Measurement in Economics, Nowcasting – Beyond GDP” (PDF - 2.03 MB)



Several activities are on the chair’s agenda:


The Measurement in Economics, Nowcasting – Beyond GDP Research Chair is created at Paris School of Economics. It aims to contribute to the progress of economic statistics methods, by promoting the mobilization of new sources and the development of very short-term forecasting tools (Nowcasting), and by continuing the reflections initiated from the Stiglitz Commission on a deepening of the statistical measurement of economic performance and well-being (Beyond GDP). On these two components, the objective of the chair is to better meet the expectations of private and public decision-makers, and more broadly of the social demand on these subjects.

A scientific program in 2 axis

Improve measurement and forecasting in the very short term (nowcasting)
Nowcasting is the term used to describe very short-term forecasting (also known as “nowcasting”), i.e., the forecast that can be made of a quantity (e.g., GDP) before its first official publication. However, the techniques mobilized can also be used for short-term forecasting, for example the one-year forecast. These very short-term forecasts are useful for public decision-makers in charge of national or international economic policy. They are also useful for private investors whose choices may be partly guided by this type of forecast. Indeed, they provide an estimate of the current values of the macroeconomic variables of interest at a time when they are not yet known, due to the publication deadlines to which these variables are subject.

Measuring « around and beyond GDP »
Over the past decade, questions about the “mismeasurement” of an increasingly polymorphic and dematerialized growth have been added to the more traditional criticisms of the “beyond GDP” literature. The crisis has offered new variants of these different questions, concerning, for example, the question of the relative value of public services or other so-called “essential” activities, or that of the measurement of prices and living standards in a context of brutal and forced deformation of consumption structures.

Towards faster measurement of indicators around and beyond GDP?
Eventually, and if the data are suitable, it is conceivable that synergies could be created between the two parts of the chair. This perspective of work, which would be nourished by the two parts of the chair, is today at the stage of reflection, and its feasibility depends in particular on the availability of suitable data. However, it would constitute an important research and application opportunity, which could be put on the chair’s agenda and lead to collaboration between the two axes. For example, the fact that social and welfare data often attract less media and political attention is often lamented by analysts, and attributed to their too episodic availability, as well as the long delays that characterize their publication. Increasing the frequency and speed of publication of indicators of well-being, living conditions, inequality and poverty can come not only from a better mastery of the concepts and measurement methods that can be used, but also from the mobilization of original data and adapted statistical processing.

Chair’s holders

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Catherine Doz - Professor at PSE and at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University

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Marc Fleurbaey - Professor at PSE and Senior Researcher at CNRS

Fellow Researchers

Denis Cogneau, Professor at PSE, Director of Studies at EHESS, Research Director at IRD,
Laurent Ferrara, Professor at Skema Business School,
Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur, Professor at PSE, Director of Studies at EHESS,
François Libois, Professor at PSE, Researcher at INRAE,
Claudia Senik, PSE Chaired Professor, Professor at Sorbonne Université,
Stéphane Zuber, Professor at PSE, Research Director at CNRS.

Steering Committee

To coordinate its work, the Chair has set up a steering committee made up of the Chair’s holders, Catherine Doz and Marc Fleurbaey, and the partner’s representatives: Nicolas Carnot (Director of Economic Studies and Synthesis, INSEE), Florence Pisani (Global Head of Economic Research, Candriam), Michel Martinez (Chief Economist, Société Générale), Benoit Bellone (Head of Research, Quantcube).

PSE Partners

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The mission of Insee is to collect, analyze and disseminate information on the French economy and society throughout its territory. It conducts its work in complete professional independence. With a nationwide presence through its establishments and regional offices, INSEE conducts population censuses in partnership with municipalities and draws up an economic and social overview of France each year through some fifty surveys. In the macroeconomic field, INSEE is responsible for producing annual and quarterly national accounts in accordance with international standards. It prepares and disseminates cyclical information and periodically summarizes it. INSEE conducts studies aimed at shedding light on trends in the French economy and its prospects, and promotes the development of methods and statistics in the fields within its competence.

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QuantCube Technology uses artificial intelligence and big data analytics to deliver real-time macro-economic insights. The firm operates one of the largest alternative data lakes in the world, processing more than 14 billion data end points. Sources encompass news, social media, satellite data, professional networks and consumer reviews, as well as international trade, shipping, real-estate, hospitality and telecoms data. QuantCube’s macro nowcast indices, on variables including economic growth, inflation, employment and international trade, correlate highly with official data and significantly beat the consensus. Financial institutions using QuantCube data benefit from real-time insight, often ahead of official numbers, which they can use to inform their investment strategies. Headquartered in Paris, QuantCube employs a diverse international team of data scientists with expertise in multilingual NLP, deep learning and machine learning techniques. The company’s shareholders include Moody’s and Caisse des Dépôts and its R&D in computer vision has been partially funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and French government space agency CNES.

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CANDRIAM, which stands for “Conviction AND Responsibility In Asset Management”, is a European multi-specialist asset manager. A pioneer and leader in the field of sustainable investment since 1996, CANDRIAM manages approximately €150 billion of assets and relies on a team of more than 600 professionals. The company has management centers in Luxembourg, Brussels, Paris, and London, and its client managers cover more than 20 countries throughout continental Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Middle East. CANDRIAM offers innovative and diversified investment solutions in several key areas: bonds, equities, absolute return strategies and asset allocation, a broad and innovative range covering all its asset classes. CANDRIAM is a New York Life company. New York Life Investments ranks among the world’s leading asset managers.

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Société Générale. Active in the real economy for over 150 years, with a solid position in Europe and connected to the rest of the world, Société Générale has over 133,000 members of staff in 61 countries and supports on a daily basis 30 million individual clients, businesses and institutional investors around the world by offering a wide range of advisory services and tailored financial solutions. The Group is built on three complementary core businesses: French Retail Banking which encompasses the Société Générale, Crédit du Nord and Boursorama brands - each offers a full range of financial services with omnichannel products at the cutting edge of digital innovation; International Retail Banking, Insurance and Financial Services to Corporates, with networks in Africa, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and specialised businesses that are leaders in their markets; Global Banking and Investor Solutions, which offers recognised expertise, key international locations and integrated solutions. Société Générale is included in the principal socially responsible investment indices: DJSI (World and Europe), FTSE4Good (Global and Europe), Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, Refinitiv Diversity and Inclusion Index, Euronext Vigeo (Europe and Eurozone), STOXX Global ESG Leaders indexes, and the MSCI Low Carbon Leaders Index (World and Europe).