On the Accuracy of National Income and Growth Statistics
Research memo. no. 43
PRINCETON UNIV NJ ECONOMETRIC RESEARCHPROGRAM
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This report includes THE VALIDITY OF ECONOMIC GROWTH STATISTICS AND GROWTH RATES. 1962, 22p. incl. tables. The rudimentary information obtained about errors in national income statistics shows that these important statistics are in especial need of decisive improvement. The present exaggerated practical applications must be avoided. It is not unusual to consider changes in the national figures of plus or minus one-tenth of one percent as significant for either theory or policy. Growth rates as commonly computed from gross national product and national income data whose errors are known to be large, though they are not stated numerically by their makers, are completely worthless as far as international comparisons are concerned. International comparisons of the relative growth and development of different countries demand, in addition to qualitative, historical, sociological description, more specific indexes, carefully constructed from those activities that are relevant to these countries in regard to their location, climate, technology, policies, etc. Such indexes would exhibit some of the faults but they could perhaps be brought under some measure of control.
- Government and Political Science