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Trade Data
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, December 2019
The fact that world exports do not match world imports indicates that there are serious problems with official trade statistics.
How Accurate Are Population Data?
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World Economics, November 2019
The accuracy of population data counted by censuses varies enormously across the world
Modi-fication of Indian Economic Data As Jobs Problem Emerges
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World Economics, November 2019
Although economic growth remains incontestably faster in India than in most other countries, worrying signs have emerged in recent months
How GDP Data Quality Ratings Are Produced
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World Economics, October 2019
World Economics has developed the Global GDP Data Quality Ratings to review the utility of official GDP data of individual countries.
Data Quality Rating: GDP China
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World Economics, September 2019
The quality of GDP data in China is improving, and up-to-date in many respects but is still some way from good quality.
World Economics Data Quality Rating (DQR)
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World Economics, July 2019
There is no summary available for this paper.
Global GDP Data Ratings
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World Economics, June 2019
There is no summary available for this paper.
How Accurate are Global Trade-Finance Data?
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, June 2019
Over 80% of international trade is financed by some form of credit, but the size of the trade finance market has received little attention by economists. It has been estimated that there is currently a world trade finance gap of around US$1.5 trillion acting as a drag on international trade and GDP growth. Survey-based estimates of traditional trade finance provided by banks at US$4.6 trillion in 2017 are highly inconsistent and are based on flawed data and opaque methodologies. The problem of collecting reliable data needed to promote trade growth and to monitor financial stability is being exacerbated as the trade finance sector is undergoing rapid structural change.
The Alarming Problems Caused By Highly Misleading Global Trade Data
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World Economics, May 2019
The author's first job in economic research was the nightmarish task of finding a way of measuring corruption on behalf of a country client in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabian Labour Market Data Outlines the Challenges of Reform
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, March 2019
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers approved an ambitious National Transformation Programme (NTP) in June 2016 with the aim of carrying out a complete restructuring of the economy. The implementation of Vision 2030 has major implications for the structure of Saudi Arabia’s labour market with the creation of 1.2 million non-oil private sector jobs, most of which are expected to be taken up by citizens. Official data shows the labour market has a number of distinctive features which will challenge the implementation of Vision 2030: an overreliance on expatriate labour; a preference by nationals for public sector jobs; a gender imbalance; persisting structural unemployment and problems in balancing labour supply and demand. The government is attempting to change the operation and structure of the labour market by a set of policies involving quotas, subsidies, taxes, penalties and the provision of information services, but for a number of reasons change is unlikely to proceed smoothly in the next few years.
Inequality: Concepts, Data, Perspectives and Solutions
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Michael Chibba & John M. Luiz, World Economics, March 2019
A comprehensive treatise on inequality from economic, social, business and metrics/data perspectives is lacking in the literature and this treatise fills that void. We posit that: (a) neoclassical economics has failed to address inequality within nations; (b) the social theories on inequality are of ancillary importance; (c) businesses have contributed to inequality in several ways but have also made a positive contribution towards a fairer, more equitable society; (d) data on inequality is not up to date. Taxation and social programs offer an inadequate approach to tackling inequality without a proper framework and supporting approaches. In addition, complementarity between neoclassical economics and behavioural economics would be a positive factor in addressing inequality and should be pursued. Issues of inequality metrics and data reliability have moved to the forefront of discussions as the data currently available is the basis of much dissent. Robust metrics and reliable and up to date inequality data (as well as related statistics) are indispensable for designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating inequality interventions and policies.
The Seemingly Underappreciated Role of Panel Data in Measuring Poverty and Economic Transformation
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Hai-Anh H. Dang & Calogero (Gero) Carletto, World Economics, September 2018
Panel survey data play a crucial role in producing estimates on welfare dynamics as well as insights into transformation processes in developing economies. Panel survey data are indispensable for effective policy advice for poverty reduction and growth. Fielding and maintaining a good-quality panel survey requires investment in financial and technical resources as well as careful planning, especially in developing countries. Statistical techniques can also be employed to produce estimates on poverty dynamics as an alternative methodology, but a new hybrid approach can combine the advantages of both methods.
Data, Deceit, and the Defence of Truth
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Stuart P.M. Mackintosh, World Economics, September 2018
Attacks on experts and professionals using available facts, are rising in the USA, with troubling implications for economics, for the collection of statistical data, and for the future integrity of the policymaking process. The Trump Administration is undermining fact-based decision making in a number of discreet interventions: Citizenship questions for the upcoming decennial census and in attacks on the work of an economist in the US Congressional Budget Office on healthcare costs. In Argentina from 2002 until 2015 the Kirchner government twisted the output of the official statistical agency to their own aims, publishing bogus data on inflation, GDP, and poverty. In Greece the efforts of Andreas Georgiou from 2010 to 2015 to correct the biased output on GDP and government expenditure data at the Greek Statistical Agency led a judicial persecution all the way to the Greek Supreme Court.
Error in Demographic and Other Quantitative Data and Analyses
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Thomas Burch, World Economics, June 2018
Statistical data consumed, analysed 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 naïve and faulty analysis and propaganda. Oskar Morgenstern has noted that, in contrast to physics, there is no estimate of statistical error within economics and the various sources of error that come into play in the social sciences suggest that the error in economic observations is substantial. It is important to recognise the phenomenon of the propagation of errors; errors in our results may be disproportionate to errors in our input data. Despite documented problems social scientists cannot give up on quantitative data since many of the most important questions in social science are matters of more or less, not either/or.
Debt, Economic Growth and Data Adequacy
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Vighneswara Swamy, World Economics, June 2018
The effects of government debt on economic growth has become of immense importance in the backdrop of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and Reinhart & Rogoff’s related research. This study is based on a sizeable dataset which extends the horizon of analysis to country groupings and makes it inclusive of economic, political, and regional diversities. The study overcomes issues related to data adequacy, coverage of countries, heterogeneity, endogeneity, and non-linear relationships by conducting a battery of robustness tests. An increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio is found to be associated with a reduction in average growth, but the relationship is nonlinear.
Serious Errors on UK Telecoms Data: Prices could have fallen by 90 Percent more than the official price index
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, April 2018
The Office of National Statistics (ONS), Britain’s official data agency, has admitted that it has made serious errors in its estimation of the output and productivity of the telecoms sector.
Can Big Data Improve Economic Measurement?
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, April 2018
The amount of data generated and stored in the digital age is accelerating rapidly, but this is not reflected in official economic statistics.
Using Price-Adjusted Income Data to Measure Regional Income Inequality Across the UK
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Julian Gough, World Economics, March 2018
Data for gross disposable household income for each region of the UK are published annually by the Office for National Statistics. The latest provisional data available are for the year 2015. The annual data for household income are in nominal terms only—i.e. they do not allow for differences in prices between regions of the UK, which distorts the results. A reliable deflator to correct the nominal data for differences in inter-regional price levels was derived from the regular survey of prices for calculating the Retail Prices Index, augmented by a special survey of prices of goods and services. When allowing for price level variations between nominal and real household income in different regions the greatest impact is on London. In real terms, household incomes in London are 6% lower than in nominal terms, amounting to a reduction of about £12.4 billion.
Commercial Real Estate Data - New Demands, Old Challenges
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David Rees, World Economics, March 2018
The global financial crisis, followed by a global portfolio shift towards commercial real estate, has reinforced the demand for timely, consistent and transparent valuation metrics and transactions data. Current initiatives at global, country and market level are addressing shortcomings in this area; nevertheless commercial real estate markets pose unique data collection and presentation challenges. While users of these data should be aware of the difficulties and qualifications inherent in the collection and compilation process, enforcing uniformity of processes and definitions across markets and sub-sectors may come at a cost. Propositions that more data are always better than less and that market transparency is always better than opacity are fruitful topics for debate in the context of commercial real estate markets.
Trade Data: Use with Care
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, January 2018
The international trade statistics used by many commentators are inaccurate and the way trade is measured is no longer fit for purpose.

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