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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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  • Jochen Hartwig

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jochen Hartwig, 2009. "Trying to assess the quality of macroeconomic data: The case of Swiss labour productivity growth as an example," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2008(1), pages 37-61.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:stdkab:5ksnlxp7snlx
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/jbcma-v2008-art3-en
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    Cited by:

    1. Jochen Hartwig, 2010. "Baumol's Diseases: The Case of Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(III), pages 533-552, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Mico Mrkaic, 2010. "Information Content of DQAF Indicators; Empirical Entropy Analysis," IMF Working Papers 10/204, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Jochen Kurt Hartwig, 2010. "Baumol's Diseases," KOF Working papers 10-250, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Accuracy of Macroeconomic Observations; Statistical Artefacts; Labour Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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