The Statistical Agencies of the Federal Government: A Report to the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government

By Frederick C. Mills; Clarence D. Long | Go to book overview

1 FEDERAL STATISTICAL ACTIVITIES

WE ARE CONCERNED IN THIS SURVEY WITH THE STATISTICAL activities that serve the operating needs of administrative and regulatory agencies of government and that supply Congress, the Executive Branch, and the public with information on economic and social conditions and processes. Policies and decisions on public issues and the varied enterprises of private citizens are based on the intelligence thus provided. Rapid growth of the demands upon this system of statistical reports and constant pressure for further expansion and more elaborate detail mark the recent history of these activities. In studying them we give attention to the effectiveness of the existing organization of statistical reports and analysis, the cost of administration, and the degree to which the needs of the nation are met, within limits appropriate to governmental activity.

The elements and operating characteristics of the system through which this information is collected and analyzed are set forth in some detail in Sections 2 and 3. In brief summary we here note its major features.


The Statistical Agencies

The statistical data, in the form of original reports, derived indexes and aggregates that make up this body of information come from a diverse group of agencies. Some originate in activities of administrative agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Federal Works Agency, and the Social Security Administration; these are used initially as instruments of management and indexes of performance. Some are the working tools of such regulatory bodies as the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Bureau

The recommendations in Section 5 of this report were published in January 1949 as Appendix D to the Report of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government. The Commission's own report on Statistical Activities accompanies that on Budgeting and Accounting, February 1949 (pp. 85-97).

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