During the Covid-19 pandemic, we all became familiar with the prime minister’s regular statements that government decisions ‘followed the science’ or that the path out of lockdown was dictated by ‘data, not dates’. Key graphs showing the recent data were displayed on the government website and updated daily. Data are also an important part of studying economics.
Data are the economist’s link with reality. Much of economic analysis is based on thinking about how people and firms are likely to respond to the incentives they face when taking decisions about consumption or production. These decisions are required because of scarcity, and the desire to make the best possible use of available resources.
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