The Numbers Racket

Devoted to illuminating the perilous state of economic data
What GDP Methodology Has To Do With Economic Convergence
Have developing countries converged on advanced countries? This was a topic of much discussion in the 1980s and 1990s, and it recently resurfaced (see e.g. here or here). As the debate rages on, one element has gone unquestioned: the use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of growth. Our new GPID Working Paper closes this gap.
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Can Africa Create a Free Trade Area?
Africa’s share of global trade has not changed significantly in twenty years - from around 2.4% or thereabouts between the early 2000s and now. From habits forced by colonialism, African nations have historically relied too heavily on export income from primary commodities, including oil, minerals and raw materials which partly explain the continent’s disappointingly low level of intra-continental trade.
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Can Big Data Improve Economic Measurement?
The amount of data generated and stored in the digital age is accelerating rapidly, but this is not reflected in official economic statistics.
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Employment, Under-employment and Unemployment in Africa
Africa’s fast-growing markets should be producing far more commercial opportunities for its businesses and yielding far more jobs for its people, but they are not. If there is genuine economic growth occurring in Africa’s major cities then current data and the view from the street are not reflecting it. Jobless growth haunts the cities of Africa.
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Most Read - Last 3 Years

Lords of Poverty
Neither Oxfam or the USA appears keen to see Rwanda start up a garment business. Here's why...
Measuring Hyperinflation:
Venezuela's Episode
Venezuela now exhibits the 57th historic episode of hyperinflation as measured in the Hanke–Krus World Hyperinflation Table. Entry to the hyperinflation dataset depends on three qualifying criteria...
GDP Revisions Rewrite Economic History
Revisions of national accounts affect economic analysis, calling into question theoretical findings based on earlier data. Revisions to German national accounts have resulted in a markedly higher GDP in absolute terms and a lower volatility in ...
Time to Overhaul Global Trade Estimates
The rise of global production networks since the 1980s changed the way we understand international trade and has profound repercussions on development policies and the conduct of global governance. New comparative advantages allow large developing countries to leap...
How Accurate Are China's National Balance Sheets?
The accuracy of data on China’s national balance sheets has attracted much less attention than that of the Gross Domestic Product reports. China’s Bureau of National Statistics has not released official national balance sheets, but two research teams...
Analysis of revisions in Indian GDP Data
This paper studies constant price growth estimates of India's annual GDP data in order to understand the revision policy adopted by the Central Statistics Office. The used of high-frequency indicators...
Errors in Demographic and Other Quantitative Data
Statistical data consumed, anylised and produced contain errors from more sources than is often recognised and the commercialisation of survey and other statistical research and 'inventions' such as 'big data' has led to naive...

Data Quality Ratings

This column reviews and rates the accuracy and utility of economic data worldwide.

GDP, population, and capacity to produce data are analysed below. Price, employment, dependency, inequality and other forms of economic data will be reviewed through 2020.


Check your Country's GDP Data Quality Rating

GDP per Capita
Data Quality Ratings
Major differences exist in the quality of both GDP and population data between countries. When GDP and population data of poor quality are combined to produce GDP per capita data the accuracy of the resulting ratio is further diminished. Read more
How to Increase GDP
How countries can increase GDP easily, relatively cheaply and legitimately. Read more
How Data Quality Ratings Are Produced
The Data Quality Ratings are based on a weighted average of 5 variables. In addition to an overall DQR score, each country is given a summary rating (A-D) designed to offer an overall view of data utility. Read more


Global Population Data Accuracy Ratings
The accuracy of population data varies widely across countries. The most comprehensive data on the number of people living in a territory and their demographic profile, a vital component for public sector economic and social planning and also for private sector needs, is usually available from the result of a census. Read more


Country Resources for Economic Data Production
The quality of economic data depends on the resources available to national statistics offices. We review resources, by country, Read more


National Economic Statistics Office Contacts

Data Quality Ratings Updates from NSO Surveys
A log of SNA and Base Year corrections to IMF and World Bank Data issued by the individual National Statistics Offices.

Regional Ratings

Asia Data Ratings
GDP data for 27 Asian countries reviewed, rated and ranked.
Americas Data Ratings
GDP data for 26 countries in the Americas reviewed, rated and ranked.
Europe Data Ratings
GDP data for 40 European countries reviewed, rated and ranked.
Africa Data Ratings
GDP data for 48 countries in Africa reviewed, rated and ranked.
Middle East Data Ratings
GDP data for 13 Middle East countries in reviewed, rated and ranked.
Global Data Ratings
GDP data for 154 countries reviewed, rated and ranked.

Country Ratings

China Data Ratings
China GDP data has been assigned a 'better than average quality' grade, it provides a...