IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Comprehensive Measures of GDP and the Unrecorded Economy


  • Manik L. Shrestha
  • Adriaan M. Bloem


Comprehensive coverage of national accounts estimates is important; however, it is often thwarted by gaps in the recording of economic activity – the so-called “unrecorded economy”. This paper sets out pragmatic statistical approaches for incorporating the unrecorded economy in the national accounts. It describes sources and methods to capture the unrecorded economy and discusses specific issues that arise from the use of indirect sources and techniques. Furthermore, the paper elaborates approaches for collecting data on the unrecorded economy, particularly on economic activities of the household sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Manik L. Shrestha & Adriaan M. Bloem, 2000. "Comprehensive Measures of GDP and the Unrecorded Economy," IMF Working Papers 00/204, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:00/204

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Coulombe, Harold, 1997. "Child labor and schooling in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1844, The World Bank.
    2. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 311-335.
    3. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    4. James Davies & John Whalley, 1991. "Taxes and Capital Formation: How Important is Human Capital?," NBER Chapters,in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 163-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    6. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    7. Eric A. Hanushek & Dongwook Kim, 1995. "Schooling, Labor Force Quality, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-350, April.
    9. Verner, Dorte, 1999. "Wage and productivity gaps - evidence from Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2168, The World Bank.
    10. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    11. Glewwe, Paul, 1996. "The relevance of standard estimates of rates of return to schooling for education policy: A critical assessment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 267-290, December.
    12. Glomm, Gerhard, 1997. "Parental choice of human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-114, June.
    13. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
    14. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    15. Sawada, Yasayuki & Lokshin, Michael, 2001. "Household schooling decisions in rural Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2541, The World Bank.
    16. Susan M. Collins & Barry P. Bosworth, 1996. "Economic Growth in East Asia: Accumulation versus Assimilation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 135-204.
    17. Judson, Ruth, 1998. "Economic Growth and Investment in Education: How Allocation Matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 337-359, December.
    18. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Accounting for Heterogeneity, Diversity, and General Equilibriumin Evaluating Social Programs," NBER Working Papers 7230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-946, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Edgar L. Feige & Ivica Urban, 2003. "Estimating the Size and Growth of Unrecorded Economic Activity in Transition Countries: A Re-evaluation of Electric Consumption Method Estimates and their Implications," Macroeconomics 0311010, EconWPA.
    2. Feige, Edgar L. & Urban, Ivica, 2008. "Measuring underground (unobserved, non-observed, unrecorded) economies in transition countries: Can we trust GDP?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 287-306, June.
    3. Robert Pollin & James Heintz, 2003. "Informalization, Economic Growth and the Challenge of Creating Viable Labor Standards in Developing Countries," Working Papers wp60, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    4. Maira Caño-Guiral, 2015. "The non-observed economy in Uruguay. A look at the first decade of the 21st century," Documentos de trabajo 2015004, Banco Central del Uruguay.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:00/204. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow) or (Hassan Zaidi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.