Hundreds Sign Onto Statement to Halt Legal Proceedings Against Georgiou, Colleagues

The ASA’s sign-on statement in support of Andreas Georgiou—the former head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT)—and his colleagues, who continue to face charges of wrongdoing by the Greek government for revising inaccurate and misleading deficit and debt figures, has garnered widespread support from a broad array of prominent individuals and organizations within the statistical and scientific communities.

Thus far, more than 40 organizations and 600 individuals have signed the statement, including organizations representing economists, statisticians, and researchers. The list of individuals supporting the statement is equally impressive, including the following:

  • Eight Nobel laureates (George Akerlof, Sir Angus Deaton, Oliver Hart, Daniel Kahneman, Eric Maskin, Edmund Phelps, Christopher Sims, and Joseph Stiglitz)
  • A former managing director of the International Monetary Fund
  • A former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers
  • A former chief statistician of the United States and former director of the United Nations Statistics Division
  • Current and former heads and officials of national statistical offices from around the world
  • Many officials and former officials of national statistical offices
  • National statistical society officers
  • Academicians, professionals, and dozens of Greek nationals

The statement calls on the Greek government to immediately halt legal proceedings against Georgiou and his colleagues and notes the detriment of the Greek authorities’ approach to the country’s economy. In addition, the statement reads:

The continued prosecutions of Dr. Georgiou for his work, many times after findings of innocence—amounting to double or even potentially triple jeopardy—are troubling on multiple levels. The prosecutions undermine the current production of Greek statistical figures, which in turn undermines Greece’s efforts to end its cycles of economic crises and attract foreign investment. Trusted, credible statistical data are a cornerstone of a well-functioning democracy and a healthy economy. The prosecutions also violate the scientific freedom and human rights of Dr. Georgiou and his colleagues to present their scientifically derived statistical data without interference and to “extend and disseminate knowledge for the good of humanity.”

This statement is the latest in a series of actions taken by the ASA and other statistical bodies to protect the integrity of official statistics and those who produce them in accordance with rigorous statistics rules and principles.