The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
International organizations collect data from national authorities to create multivariate cross-sectional time series for their analyses. As data from countries with not yet well-established statistical systems may be incomplete, the bridging of data gaps is a crucial challenge. This paper investigates data structures and missing data patterns in the cross-sectional time series framework, reviews missing value imputation techniques used for micro data in official statistics, and discusses their applicability to cross-sectional time series. It presents statistical methods and quality indicators that enable the (comparative) evaluation of imputation processes and completed datasets.