Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.6, No.3, 1990. pp. 319332

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Statistical Organization Criteria for Inter-Country Comparisons and Their Application to Canada

Literature on the subject of international comparisons of statistical agencies tends to emphasize their structural characteristics in terms of centralization and decentralization. This paper sets up a list of criteria and examines how the Canadian statistical system has performed using the criteria as standards. In particular it examines performance in terms of political interference with the system; the relationship between the Chief Statistician and the system's political masters; the agency's performance in terms of securing resources and specialized staff. The conclusions are that comparisons through performance criteria may be more fruitful than the traditional approach and that events in Eastern Europe and Europe 1992 may require a greater emphasis on comparative studies of statistical agencies.

Statistical systems; performance criteria; centralization; decentralization.

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