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Data Party: Tracking Europe’s Failed Banks

- October 18, 2012 in Data Party, Open Economics

nuklr.dave CC BY

This fall marked the five year anniversary of the collapse of UK-based Northern Rock in 2007. Since then an unknown number of European banks have collapsed under the weight over plummeting housing markets, financial mismanagement and other reasons. But how many European banks did actually crash during the crisis?

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation keeps a neat Failed bank list, which has recorded 496 bank failures in the US since 2000.

Europe however, and for that matter the rest of the world, still lack similar or comparable data on how many banks actually failed since the beginning of the crisis. Nobody has collected data on how many Spanish cajas actually crashed and how many troubled German landesbanken actually went under.

At the Open Economics Skype-chat earlier this month it was agreed to take the first steps for creating a Failed Bank Tracker for Europe at an upcoming “Data party”:

Join the Data Party

Wednesday 24th October at 5:30pm London / 6:30pm Berlin.

We hope that a diverse group of you will join in the gathering of failed bank data. During the Data Party you will have plenty of chances to discuss al questions regarding bank failures whether they be specific cases. Do not let your country or region leave a blank spot when we draw up the map of bank failures.

At the data party we will go through some of these questions:

  • What kind of failed bank data do we wish to collect (date, amount, type of intervention, etc.)?
  • What are the possible sources (press, financial regulators or European agencies)?
  • Getting started with the data collection for the Failed Bank Tracker


You can join the Data party by adding your name and skype ID here.


Getting good data: What makes a failed bank?

For this first event collecting data on failed European banks should provide more than enough work for us. At this moment neither the European Commission, Eurostat nor the European Banking Authority are keeping any records of bank failures like in the FDIC in the US. The best source of official European information available is from DG Competition, which keeps track of approved state aid measures in member states in their State Aid database. Its accuracy is however limited as it contains cases from state intervention with specific bank collapses to sector wide bank guarantee schemes.

A major reason for the lack of data on bank failures is the fact that legislation often differs dramatically between countries in terms of what actually defines a bank failure. In early 2012 I asked the UK regulator FSA, if they could provide a list of failed banks similar to the list from FDIC in the US. In a response the FSA asserted that the UK did not have a single bank failures since 2007:

“I regret that we do not have a comparable list to that of the US. Looking at the US list it appears to be a list of banks that have entered administration. As far as I am aware no UK banks have entered administration in this period, though of course a number were taken over or received support during the crisis.”

The statement from FSA demonstrate that, for instance Northern Rock, which brought a £ 2bn loss on UK taxpayers, never officially failed, due to the fact that it never entered administration. The example from FSA demonstrates that collecting data on bank failures would be  interesting and useful.

Earlier this year I got a head start on the data collection when a preliminary list of failed banks, were collected from both journalists and national agencies such as the Icelandic the Financial Supervisory Authority. The first 65 banks entered in the tracker, mostly from Northern Europe are available here.

Looking forward to bring data on failed banks together at the Data Party. 

City DataParty

- February 3, 2012 in Cities, Data Party, Events

If you have fun working with data or would like to learn how to do some data-crunching, please come to our virtual DataParty on City Data on Wednesday, February 8 @ 5pm GMT / 6pm CET / 12pm EST. To join the DataParty, please enter your skype ID in the DataParty Etherpad. If you are in London, you can also come to the #C4CC at 16 Acton Street, WC1X 9NG. We will gather disaggregated data on city and regional level for cities around the world and add them to the Datahub.

Are you interested in what drives cities? Regional and city data can much more interesting than national averages, as it reflects the spatial agglomerations of economic and social activities. Analysing regional level data could deliver insights about the unequal economic development – whether patterns of development are due to geographical devisions or institutional factors.

What do you value personally in a city? Maybe the employment opportunities, the low crime rates, the environmental quality and good weather or the concentration of cultural and academic activities… Do you want to live in a densely- or sparsely-populated city, one with many schools and few car accidents? Probably you consider some of those factors really important and others not decisive at all. And you would be right to put a different weight on the various factors which constitute a city. Probably you would also like to know what your perfect city would be like. The next Open Economics project will build an application to determine the Best City in the World to submit to the BuzzData & EIU – Data Mash-Up & Visualization Contest: “Where is the best city in the world to live?”.

Spatial economists and econometricians, as well as interested data journalists and citizens are also welcome to join – building a dataset, based on comparable NUTS3 statistics of Eurostat for European countries, we can analyse the relationships between the labour market, education, health and spending. You are welcome to share and practice data analysis techniques and initiate follow-up activities.

DataParty – Measures of Social Progress in Italy

- January 17, 2012 in Data Party, Yourtopia

Data parties are becoming a tradition in our activities: there are so far 30 datasets in our Economics Data Group on the DataHub and we would like to see this number grow with your help. If you have a dataset lying around, which you would like to share, please come to a data party and we can show you how to put it in the Datahub – it’s easy and fast and this way you could support the work of fellow researchers and students around the world.

The next data party will take place this Wednesday, January 18 at 5-6pm GMT / 6-7pm CET / 12-1pm EST. On the data party etherpad, add your skype id and I will be able to add you to the conference. All the data we can gather in the Google Spreadsheet.

This week’s topic is “Measures of social progress in Italy”, which is a preliminary meeting for our January 27-28 Apps4Italy Hackathon. Italy as one of the countries hit hardest by the 2008 economic crisis, has one of the highest levels of public debt – 118% of GDP. But how does Italy compare with the rest of Europe on income, social inclusion and living conditions? How do people value social progress and what are its dimensions?

Help us gather disaggregated data on these measures this Wednesday during our data party and learn more about Italy.

Ci vediamo!

Next DataHub Data Party – January 18, 2012

- January 10, 2012 in Data Party, Events, Yourtopia

You are welcome to join our next DataHub data party on January 18 at 5-6pm GMT / 6-7pm CET / 12-1pm EST. On our regular data parties we would like to assemble more datasets to add to our economics datahub database.

For the next data party however, we have a particular objective, related to our work on the Apps4Italy submission. The topic will be gathering data about Italy – different measures of progress, at higher frequency and at more disaggregated levels. We will work together on the following spreadsheet.

If you would like to participate, please enter your name and skype-id on the Etherpad:
Looking forward to gathering Italian data together!

Please Help Assemble Data for Hackday

- January 9, 2012 in Data Party, Hackathon, Projects, Yourtopia

Dear Open Economics participants,

In preparation of the upcoming hackday, we are currently searching for the data on which we will base our measurement of progress in Italy. Could you kindly help finding data series? If so, please contribute to filling this spreadsheet.

You will find there data that Italy, jointly with its European partners, has identified as key to social progress (the EU2020 targets). Most of this data is available at Eurostat but only in annual frequency and with great statistical delays. We hence need to look for sources directly in Italy, where we hope to locate it in higher frequency and with shorter delays. Could you search with us on Italian/international sources and add them to the spreadsheet?

In case we cannot locate some of these official progess indicators, we are also looking for alternative, high-frequency data series that are generally accepted as key to social progress. If you have data/suggestions for such alternatives, please add them to the spreadsheet as well.

Please let us all check this out, so that we can soon start drawing up data series for our app.

DataHub Data Party for Economics Data – Wednesday 21st December 2011

- December 20, 2011 in Data Party

We’re holding a DataHub Data Party for Economics data. It’s an online get together to dig up interesting economics (and energy) data and add it to the DataHub economics data group:

* When: 21st December 2011 @ 5-6pm GMT / 6-7pm CET / 12-1pm EST (join
for as little or as much time as you want)
* Where: Virtual on irc and skype
* What: Get together to add economic datasets to
* Etherpad:

Everyone is welcome and all you need is an interest in (open)
economics (or energy) data.

We’ll be collaborating on skype and IM — if interested please add yourself + skype id to you be added to the joint chat.

Reminder: Open Knowledge Indicator Hackday 23rd of August 2011

- August 22, 2011 in Data Party, Open Knowledge Index, Projects

Just a quick reminder that the Hackday for the Open Knowledge Indicator will be on the 23rd of August, from 10 AM to 11 PM (UTC+1).
I’m sorry if some cannot make it at this date but I hope you will be able to join at a later stage – this certainly doesn’t mean you’re excluded!

We’ll be setting up a Etherpad – for joining, please add my Skype address guoxu_voip so I can put you on the group chat.