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On the Accuracy of Economic Observations: Do Sub-Saharan Trade Statistics Mean Anything?

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  • Yeats, Alexander J
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    Abstract

    African governments are being urged to promote commodity exports, yet without reliable trade statistics it is difficult to formulate appropriate policies to achieve this goal. This article assesses the accuracy of U.N. trade statistics by comparing the declared value of African exports, plus a transport and insurance cost factor, with partner countries' reported import values. The results show that major discrepancies often exist between the two, with false invoicing and smuggling apparently responsible for much of the difference. Although major disparities exist in data on trade with developed countries, the average differences in intra- African trade statistics are substantially larger. Statistical tests show that these data cannot be relied on to indicate the level, composition, or even direction and trends in African trade. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 4 (1990)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 135-56

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:4:y:1990:i:2:p:135-56

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    Cited by:
    1. Bagachwa, M. S. D. & Naho, A., 1995. "Estimating the second economy in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(8), pages 1387-1399, August.
    2. Volker Treichel, 2010. "Putting Nigeria to Work : A Strategy for Employment and Growth," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2463, October.
    3. Fielding, David & Shields, Kalvinder, 2001. "Modelling macroeconomic shocks in the CFA Franc Zone," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 199-223, October.
    4. Edwards, Lawrence & Jenkins, Rhys, 2014. "The margins of export competition: A new approach to evaluating the impact of China on South African exports to Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(S1), pages S132-S150.
    5. Yeats, Alexander J., 1991. "Can preshipment inspection offset noncompetitive pricing of development countries'imports? The evidence from Madagascar," Policy Research Working Paper Series 610, The World Bank.
    6. Yeats, Alexander J., 1991. "Do natural resource-based industrialization strategies convey important (unrecognized) price benefits for commodity-exporting developing countries?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 580, The World Bank.
    7. M. del Mar Rubio Varas & Mauricio Folchi, 2005. "On the accuracy of Latin American trade statistics: A nonparametric test for 1925," Economics Working Papers 879, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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