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Working Paper

Communicating Data Uncertainty: Multi-Wave Experimental Evidence for UK GDP

Economic statistics are commonly published without estimates of their uncertainty. We conduct two waves of a randomized controlled online experiment to assess if and how the UK public understands data uncertainty. A control group observes only the point estimate of GDP. Treatment groups are presented with alternative qualitative and quantitative communications of GDP data uncertainty. We find that most of the public understands that GDP numbers are uncertain. Quantitative communications of data uncertainty help align the public’s subjective probabilistic expectations of data uncertainty with objective estimates, but do not decrease trust in the statistical office.

Suggested Citation

Galvão, Ana Beatriz, and James Mitchell. 2022. “Communicating Data Uncertainty: Multi-Wave Experimental Evidence for UK GDP.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 21-28R.