The Numbers Racket

Devoted to illuminating the perilous state of economic data
How to Decimate a Country in Less Than 20 Years
In 1960, Italy’s GDP was 15% smaller than France’s, and 27% lower than the average of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France’s combined. However, this country enjoyed steady growth until the start of the 1990s as Italian household income caught up with the period’s norm for the other eurozone nations, so much so that around 1995 France and Italy’s GDPs converged and there came to be only a 6% difference between the average of the countries mentioned...
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The European Union Must Defend Andreas Georgiou
Nicolas Veron argues that the relentless prosecutions against Georgiou are more than a matter of shameful harassment by Greece. Georgiou’s case also raises disturbing questions about the integrity of European statistical processes...
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Modi-fication of Indian Data As Jobs Problem Emerges
Worrying signs have emerged over the last few months, that the rapid growth of recent years may be slowing down, and that India may have a jobs crisis in the making...
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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...
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 ...
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...
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...

About World Economics

Economic data underpin almost all key investment decisions.

Yet the numbers on which so much weight is placed are badly flawed to an extent few realise.

Discover how World Economics provides investors, economists and governments with guides to what data can be trusted and what cannot.


GDP Measurement
How GDP Numbers Artificially Inflate Comparative Growth
Have developing countries converged on advanced countries?
We show how the assumption that GDP calculations which are done in line with economic theory is incorrect – and that the changes made to GDP measurement over the past two decades.  Read more...
Forging New Value Chains For African Goods
Can emerging industries preserve and protect added value within Africa?
Although trade statistics are unable to reveal what originates where, and what is sold at which price, with sometimes unintended and dramatic effects on trade relations, significant commodity value chains originating in Africa have been circumnavigating the world for decades. But Africa benefits the least as their commodities and natural resources are invariably just hoisted out of the earth and immediately exported for onward processing and value enhancement.  Read more...
The Case of Andreas Georgiou
For the past eight years Andreas Georgiou has been facing prosecution for the way he discharged his duties while he was president of Greece’s statistical agency (ELSTAT).
His detractors claim that Greece was forced to face harsher conditionality because the deficit was revised upwards, thus helping to justify externally imposed austerity. Despite overwhelming evidence that Mr. Georgiou correctly applied EU rules in revising Greece’s fiscal deficit and debt figures, and despite strong international support for his case, some Greek courts continued the pursuit. The Georgiou case tested the independence of the Greek judiciary, as some senior prosecutors and judges would appear to have repeatedly failed to act in accordance with the rule of law and due process. With a solid majority in parliament, the newly-elected center-right New Democracy government has the opportunity to deliver deep institutional and economic reforms. Ensuring the independence of the judiciary should be a top priority.  Read more...
In Depth: China
The Latest Insights, Data and Indicators Charting the Course of the Chinese Economy
Trade Data
The Alarming Problems Caused By Highly Misleading Global Trade Data
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.
The author was told that he should start by researching something simple - like exports of German cars to the country under investigation, as listed in German export documents. And compare the results with imports of German cars as documented by the Middle Eastern country. The results were spectacular. Over 10 times more cars were exported from Germany according to German data, than were supposedly imported according to Middle Eastern data, over the same period. Something wrong somewhere!  Read more...

Data Quality Ratings

This column is intended to review the accuracy & utility of economic data worldwide.

Data on GDP, Prices, Employment, Debt, and many other variables provide the basis for a host of crucial decisions by politicians, investors and businesses, but are often of extremely poor quality.and unsuited to the responsibility placed on them.

We start below with GDP Quality Ratings.
Check your Country's GDP Data Quality Rating

How to Increase GDP
We show how a country can increase its GDP. Easily (its not rocket science). Cheaply (pays for itself in reduced debt charges). Legitimately (improving economic data is the right thing to do) ....
How Data Quality Ratings Are Produced
The Data Quality Ratings are based on a weighted average of 6 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.
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...

Analysis & Insights

France and the Euro The Reason for Riots
Data shows the overvaluation of the Euro is hurting France while favouring Germany...
Can Big Data Improve Measurement?
The amount of data generated and stored in the digital age is accelerating rapidly, but this...
Trade Data:
Use with Care
The international trade statistics used by many commentators are inaccurate...
The Flaws in Population Data
Accurate world population data is immensely important in assessing the impact of...
Analysis of Revisions in Indian GDP
Understanding the revision policy adopted by the Central Statistics Office...