The French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies and the new local authorities

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Pierre JOLY

Director, ENSAI, Former regional director of INSEE (French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), Languedoc-Roussillon region


Being in charge of the department for local studies at the INSEE, Rhône Alpes region

Seminar Entrepreneurs, towns and regions | Wednesday January 7, 2004

In a country such as France which is centralised, statistics were primarily developed for use on a national scale. Faced with advances in decentralisation, progress in the retrieval and handling of information has increased the range of products which the INSEE (French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) can provide people who are in charge of regions. There are concrete examples of these new types of partnerships between regions and the INSEE. These include a study commissioned by the Montpellier Chamber of Commerce concerning the economic future of the département of Hérault ; a prospective analysis based on demographic growth asked for by the region's prefect ; and the completion of an atlas of urban dwellers in the Marseille/Aix-en-Provence region. However, these new types of partnership raise numerous questions. How far should we go in decentralising statistics ? How can we be sure that the methods used are coherent ? How can we be certain that the figures provided are interpreted properly ?

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