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Exploring the accuracy of international trade statistics

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  • Basim Makhoul
  • Samuel Otterstrom
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    Abstract

    This study provides a comprehensive investigation of statistical discrepancies in generally accepted international trade figures published by the IMF between 1948 and 1994. We calculated export over- and underestimation for each country and all of their bilateral trading partners. By keeping totals for over- and underestimation in separate categories we avoided the cancellation effect of aggregating positive and negative discrepancies among partner countries. In general, the results show a significant improvement in the quality of trade data over time. However for many countries, relatively large discrepancies still exist that defy technical explanations, such as the CIF-FOB margins. Also, because export over- and underestimation coexist for most of the countries at varying degrees, use of the aggregate sum of the discrepancy might disguise the actual magnitude of the problem. A significant difference exists in the relative magnitude and dispersion of trade discrepancies between OECD countries and non-OECD countries. Trend analysis suggests that the accuracy of trade data is improving at a faster rate in the non-OECD than in the OECD countries.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/000368498324689
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

    Volume (Year): 30 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 12 ()
    Pages: 1603-1616

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:30:y:1998:i:12:p:1603-1616

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    Cited by:
    1. 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.
    2. Hamanaka, Shintaro, 2011. "Utilizing the Multiple Mirror Technique to Assess the Quality of Cambodian Trade Statistics," Working Papers on Regional Economic Integration 88, Asian Development Bank.

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