golos_dobra (golos_dobra) wrote,

manipulation of GDP statistics

Часть первая
Неопубликованная статья Х

How Much Should We Trust the Dictator's GDP Estimates?
Luis R. Martinez
Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago
First version: December 2017
This version: May 2018

I study the manipulation of GDP statistics in weak and non-democracies. I show
that the elasticity of oofficial GDP figures to nighttime lights is systematically larger
in more authoritarian regimes. This autocracy gradient in the night-lights elasticity
of GDP cannot be explained by di erences in a wide range of factors that may affect
the mapping of night lights to GDP, such as economic structure, statistical capacity,
rates of urbanization or electri fication. The gradient is larger when there is a stronger
incentive to exaggerate economic performance (years of low growth, before elections,
after becoming ineligible for foreign aid) and is only present for GDP sub-components
that rely on government information and have low third-party veri cation. Based on
the autocracy gradient, I estimate that yearly GDP growth rates are inflated by a factor
of between 1.15 and 1.3
in the most authoritarian regimes. Correcting for manipulation
substantially changes our understanding of comparative economic performance at the
turn of the XXI century.

Часть вторая, неопубликованная статья НЕМЕДЛЕННО подхватывается Washington Post


Satellite data strongly suggests that China, Russia and other authoritarian countries are fudging their GDP reports

May 15 at 7:00 AM

Martinez wanted to see whether the relationship between increases in lighting and increases in GDP was different for more-authoritarian countries: "Is it the case that the same amount of growth in nighttime lights is associated with systematically larger amounts of GDP growth in more authoritarian regimes?” The answer, he found, was an unequivocal "yes.”

Martinez sorted the world's countries by their Freedom House score, which classifies countries on a spectrum ranging from "free" to "not free," based on categories such as civil rights protections and civil liberties. He then looked at how changes in nighttime lighting correlated with the countries' self-reported GDP measures.

Часть третья: Опубликованная статья Y больше года раньше статьи X, сделанная в том же университете,


Received: 11 April 2016
Accepted: 3 September 2016

Table 1
Cross-country comparison of average aggregate annual growth

for 1993-2006 period
mean 1.95%
sigma 3.06%

United States
mean 1.73%
sigma 2.86%

From these, it is obvious that, depending strongly on the particular subsample of countries or years included in studies, the point estimates of growth using prior, extant methods based on night lights can be plausible but misleading and results can be spurious. Nevertheless, and quite surprisingly, aggregate growth metrics have been used exclusively in all previous studies incorporating night lights.

Tags: gdp, manipulation, statistics

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