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Trying to Assess the Quality of Macroeconomic Data – the Case of Swiss Labour Productivity Growth as an Example

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Abstract

Macroeconomic data are indispensable for modern governance, yet it is often unclear how reliable these data are. The production process of macroeconomic data inside the statistical offices is often not very transparent for the general public. Bystanders usually have no choice but to take for granted the published data because criteria by which to judge data quality are wanting. Hoping to contribute to a better understanding of the quality of macroeconomic data, this paper proposes several plausibility checks and applies them to recently published Swiss labour productivity growth figures. Although the proposed checks cannot ‘prove’ or ‘disprove’ the official data, they are capable of either strengthening our confidence in the official data or, alternatively, of casting them into doubt. Policy debates drawing on official data will hardly be able to ignore differences in the degree of confidence with which these data are held to be accurate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 07-173.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:07-173

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Keywords: Accuracy of macroeconomic observations; statistical artefacts; labour productivity;

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Cited by:
  1. Jochen Hartwig, 2010. "‘Baumol’s diseases’: the case of Switzerland," KOF Working papers 10-250, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  2. Mico Mrkaic, 2010. "Information Content of DQAF Indicators," IMF Working Papers 10/204, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Abrahamsen, Yngve & Hartwig, Jochen, 2011. "Inventory investment and production in Europe during the "Great Recession": Is there a pattern?," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 174-177, August.

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