Data Quality Rating: GDP China

World Economics
World Economics, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2019

China's GDP data, unlike that of many developing countries, is based on a recent Base year, and on the latest internationally agreed System of Nation Accounts (SNA). It is therefore in many respects up to date and based on sensible methods. As such it is relatively useful data, and probably of better quality than that of most developing nations. It is also of increasing utility as Government makes sensible changes to improve data quality.

Nevertheless, the data is frequently subject to criticism, notably about the unusual speed with which the data is produced, and with potential over estimation of the growth estimates over time.


Factors used to judge GDP Data Quality

Five factors are used to judge GDP data quality and to provide countries with a Data Quality Ranking (DQR) score. These are:

  1. Base Year used to calculate the GDP data (years out of date)
  2. Standard of National Accounts (SNA) applied
  3. Estimated Size of the Informal Economy
  4. Resources Devoted to Measuring Economic Activity
  5. A Proxy measure for likely Government Interference in Economic Data production

Table 1: China: Relative Factor Values and Total DQR Score 

CountryBase YearSNAInformal EconomyResourcesGovernment InterfearenceDQR ScoreGlobal Rank  ▾Grade  ▾

  • China ’s Base Year is 3 Years out of date
  • China has adopted the latest SNA standard
  • China has a large informal economy at an estimated 12% of the size of the official economy
  • The level of resources in China is high at 75 out of 100
  • Government Interference is rated at 39 out of 100 – a low score means more interference

Base Year: China’s current base year is 2015, three years out of date, within the recommendation that base years be regularly updated every 5 years. Out of date base years can cause considerable


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