Stefano pantaleoni - alle muse

The construction of these conventions implies not only the fixing of agreed measurement procedures but also a general confidence in the reliability of the sources from which the data are collected. This point implies some peculiar problems. Many historical case studies have shown the effects on statistical results of the inquired subjects’ resistance, suspicion, or ignorance, and statistical theory has in its turn developed specific data-editing techniques to deal with these effects as if they were observational errors. 2 Still, there is a distinction to be made between the “atomistic” alteration of collected data, and a conscious effort by data suppliers to modify the results of statistical surveys and their interpretation. Obviously, the latter is possible when informants enjoy some sort of monopolistic or oligopolistic control of the information supply. As I will show, this was in some measure the case in the first surveys on manufacturing realized in nineteenth-century Italy that are the main object of this study and are summarized in the Appendix .

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