Burkina Faso, which has gross domestic product per capita of about $700 (just under $1600 in purchasing power parity terms), launched its Open Data Institute yesterday, adding to the number of African nations which have made government data available to the public. Read more

As an aid to debates about the referendum on whether Scotland should be independent from the UK, Britain’s Office for National Statistics has published a compendium that allows for comparisons to be made between the four countries of the UK.

Thanks, in part, to devolution, the UK has four organisations that produce official statistics: the Office for National Statistics, the Scottish Government, StatsWales and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency who all release different surveys that gather data in different ways.

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Does knowing more about finance lead to making better investment decisions?

It might if you believe a working paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research, published yesterday. By matching records from an unnamed company’s pension scheme and responses to a survey asking some basic questions about finance, they “find that risk-adjusted annual expected returns are 130 basis points higher for the most financially knowledgeable employees.” The questions used in the survey can be found in the quiz below. Read more

Domestic mergers and acquisitions have reached the lowest level since 1969 according to data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics released today.

There were 26 acquisitions by UK companies in the first quarter of 2014 acquiring other companies in the first three months of the year, with a combined value of £0.7 billion.

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Top bankers examined for the Financial Times’ annual research of bank chief executive pay have been rewarded more generously in 2013, making good for a drop in the previous year and bringing pay back above 2011 levels.

Average chief executive pay at 15 leading US and European banks increased 10.1 per cent last year to $13m, according to data compiled exclusively for the FT by Equilar, the executive pay research firm.

Explore the bank chief executives and their pay in this interactive graphic.

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The Office for National Statistics has, for the first time, included estimates of the impact of prostitution and illegal drugs in the national accounts. By the ONS’ reckoning they add about £10bn to the British economy.

Estimates of anything to do with the black economy are always going to be uncertain at best, but the statistics available are pretty interesting. Read more