Age of Alternative Data

More Timely, More Granular, More Transparent

Following the launch of our global Alternative Data and ESG enhancements earlier this year, we are pleased to release the white paper “Age of Alternative Data: More Timely, More Granular, More Transparent”. 


Using alternative data for economic analysis comes from an unmet need. Over the past decade, there were a series of unpredictable events with substantial economic impact – the election of Donald Trump and Brexit in 2016, COVID-19 in 2020, the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Traditional macroeconomic data were not of use when these events happened. Besides the timeliness problem, the unbalanced recovery after COVID-19 of countries, regions, industries, and commodities made aggregate macroeconomic statistics insufficient to address the reality in many cases and thus much more granular data by cities or commodities were needed. And it is now just the necessity. Using alternative data for economics is also due to the development of the technology that makes it possible to collect, compute, and analyze such data. Both the necessity and the ability to use alternative data will grow in the future. 


Alternative data are unstructured, messy, and lack history. But even if imperfect, they solve real problems. They are more timely, more granular, and in many cases more transparent. These are not problems related to COVID-19 and the value of alternative data will not fade away with the end of the pandemic. These are problems of the changing economic environment, and the new questions economists are forced to address. 


  • How did we get the COVID-19 impact so wrong? 
  • Can truck toll data be used to predict Germany’s industrial production? 
  • How can the missing trade data for Russia be estimated? 
  • Why Shanghai’s reconnecting was even harder than the reopening and what mobility data can tell us about the Chinese economy?  


To learn more, download the white paper “Alternative Data: More Timely, More Granular, More Transparent”