The International Comparison Program: Current Status and Problems
This paper reviews the International Comparison Program (ICP), a worldwide effort to produce international comparisons of real GDP and its components and purchasing power parities of currencies (PPPs). The robustness of results and future work are considered. A generous estimate of margins of uncertainty in the benchmark estimates might be 20-25 per cent for low-income countries and 7 per cent for high-income countries. The errors in extrapolations to countries not covered by the surveys could go as high as 30-35 per cent. That is still a small range of error compared to that stemming from the use of exchange rates to convert own-currency to common currency measures of output. Furthermore, exchange rate conversions are even more sensitive to methodology than PPP conversions. The notion that exchange comparisons rest on a simple and transparent procedure using standard market data is illusory. The future of ICP measures seems assured in Europe, particularly in the European Community. The prospects for systematic worldwide comparisons do not look as bright. A renewed effort by the United Nations Statistical Office and the World Bank would be needed to maintain an ICP with comprehensive coverage and comparable methods in all major regions.
|Date of creation:||Mar 1990|
|Publication status:||published as International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research, edited by Peter Hooper and J. David Richardson, pp. 437-464. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1984. "Why Are Services Cheaper in the Poor Countries?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(374), pages 279-286, June.
- Clague, Christopher, 1986. "Short-Cut Estimates of Real Income," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 32(3), pages 313-331, September.
- Heston, Alan, 1973. "A Comparison of Some Short-Cut Methods of Estimating Real Product Per Capita," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 19(1), pages 79-104, March.
- Summers, Robert, 1973. "International Price Comparisons Based Upon Incomplete Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 19(1), pages 1-16, March.
- Locker, Hugo Krijnse, 1984. "On the Estimation of Purchasing Power Parities on the Basic Heading Level," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(2), pages 135-152, June.
- Summers, Robert & Kravis, Irving B & Heston, Alan, 1980. "International Comparisons of Real Product and Its Composition: 1950-77," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 26(1), pages 19-66, March.
- Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1982. "Towards an Explanation of National Price Levels," NBER Working Papers 1034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hill, T P, 1977. "On Goods and Services," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 23(4), pages 315-338, December.
- Kravis, Irving B, 1984. "Comparative Studies of National Incomes and Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 1-39, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3304. 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: ()
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.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.