Helsinki GSE establishes an economic situation room – aim is to support fast decision making amid

The project highlights Finland as a solid example of effective and timely policy decisions due to availability of data.

The Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (Helsinki GSE) has established a situation room to support ministries and other public authorities in economic policy-making during the coronavirus crisis. The Helsinki GSE situation room aims to provide decision-makers with a close to real-time view on developments in the corporate sector, the labor market, and society in general.

The situation room consists of leading economists from Helsinki GSE, VATT Institute for Economic Research, as well as members from several public authorities. It utilises data from relevant public and private sources and produces regular reports for policymakers. The data is collected and organised in close cooperation with Statistics Finland, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Bank of Finland, Finnish Tax Administration, The Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela and other institutions.

“Finland is in an extraordinarily good position to make data-based policy decisions since we have an abundance of high-quality registry data available. Taking advantage of this data greatly improves the ability to make any appropriate policy decisions”, says Otto Toivanen, leader of the situation room, and academic director of Helsinki GSE.

“The Finnish registry data spans several decades and enables linking of different data sources at, e.g. individual, firm or family level in a way that is not possible in many other countries. The experiences of the situation room can also be valuable when considering how to incorporate more real-time micro-level economic data in regular economic policymaking.”

In addition to data-driven analysis, Helsinki GSE researchers are organising regular discussions with civil servants and decision-makers on general policy guidelines for both during and after the crisis. The situation room also cooperates closely with a group of Finnish experts recently appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Finance to prepare an assessment of the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

“The coronavirus crisis poses difficult challenges for economic policymakers, as far-reaching decisions need to be made at a fast pace, in a new and quickly changing environment. We are happy to be able to help in finding answers to those challenges”, says Erkki Liikanen, chair of Helsinki GSE board.

/Public Release. View in full here.