Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Debts of the Lenders: A Closer Look at China's GDP Calculations

Professor Pettis' web site ( THE place to go to for mainland Chinese macro-economic news coverage) is having some difficulties. Chinese censors perhaps?

Anyway, other skeptics on Chinese GDP calculation have existed for quite a while. Here is a more recent example:


China's National Bureau of Statistics has on repeated occasions explained in great detail how its GDP statistics are derived from underlying data. Based on these explanations, this article reconstructs Chinese official household consumption, which accounts for half of GDP. The findings are condemning. Not only do the various official explanations offered between 1997 and 2001 differ from each other, but none allows the researcher to accurately reconstruct household consumption. The relationship between the GDP component household consumption and the underlying data, furthermore, varies from year to year, which suggests that time series comparisons of Chinese GDP may be invalid.
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