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Ratings of GDP Accuracy in the Americas
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World Economics, May 2019
The quality of economic data in North and South America is very variable. The United States Canada and Chile publish consistently good quality data, ranking high by international standards. There are significant quality issues with data produced in Bolivia, Honduras, and Paraguay. And at the extreme end of the scale, data produced in Venezuela and Haiti is likely to be of little value in describing prevailing economic conditions.
On Measuring Hyperinflation
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Steve H. Hanke & Charles Bushnell, World Economics, September 2017
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: inflation rates greater than 50% per month; the persistence of this rate for at least 30 consecutive days; and full documentation so that inflation estimates are replicable. This paper measures Venezuela’s hyperinflation by transforming changes in the US dollar–Venezuelan bolivar exchange rate into implied inflation rates using the purchasing power parity doctrine. The purchasing power parity method is accurate during periods of hyperinflation. Venezuela’s hyperinflation peaked with a monthly inflation rate of 219.7% on 30 November 2016.
Re-thinking Economic Progress
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Giles Atkinson, World Economics, March 2000
Most national governments have pledged a commitment to sustainable development. The transformation of these pledges into policy is a formidable challenge. Of particular interest are proposals for the construction of green alternatives to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which it is hoped will provide policy-makers with a consistent and summary signal of "true" trends in the economy both now and into the future. This paper reviews the green accounting debate over the past decade. the author argues that, while initial expectations have, at times, been overstated, there are encouraging signs for policy-makers attempting to make sense of their commitments to sustainable development. One such indication is the increasing emphasis on improved measures of saving, providing a better link between actions in the present and their implications for the future.


False Perspective: The UNDP View of the World
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David Henderson, World Economics, March 2000
Despite some searching and unanswered criticisms of its treatment of statistical evidence, the UNDP Human Development Report has become established as a widely-quoted and influential survey of the world scene. The 1999 Report, reviewed here, focuses on ‘globalization’. This is described as a dominant influence on the recent economic fortunes of developing countries in particular, and as a primary cause of continuing poverty and growing inequality in the world. The author argues that the Report provides neither argument nor evidence in support of this thesis; that it takes no account of other factors that have strongly influenced economic performance; that its main prescription for the world, of reforms in ‘global governance’, is largely beside the point; and that its whole approach is crudely anti-liberal. The author concludes by placing the Report, as also the economists who have aligned themselves with it, in the wider context of anti-liberalism today.



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