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Chinese statistics: classification systems and data sources

  • Holz, Carsten A

China has become a popular geographic area of research. Researchers make extensive use of Chinese official statistics, but these statistics are often not well understood. This article first clarifies three major issues that affect a wide range of Chinese statistics—from output and employment data to industry profitability—and then elaborates on data sources. The three data issues are changes over time to the sectoral classification system, changes to the ownership classification system, and changes to the coverage of the industry sector. Many of these changes have gone unnoticed or remain poorly understood, leaving the researcher puzzled about varying labels, apparently inconsistent data, and discontinued time series. The second part of the paper offers a gateway to a wealth of Chinese statistics whose existence is not widely known. It also points out the limitations of some of these sources and provides an overview of the secondary literature that discusses the meaning and quality of particular Chinese statistics.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/43869/1/MPRA_paper_43869.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 43869.

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Date of creation: 07 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43869
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  1. Mehrotra, Aaron & Paakkonen, Jenni, 2011. "Comparing China’s GDP Statistics with Coincident Indicators," BOFIT Discussion Papers 1/2011, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  2. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Data in transition: Assessing rural living standards in Southern China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 23-56.
  3. Giles, John & Park, Albert & Zhang, Juwei, 2005. "What is China's true unemployment rate?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-170.
  4. Chow, G.C., 1990. "Capital Formation And Economic Growth In China," Papers 67, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  5. Sinton, Jonathan E., 2001. "Accuracy and reliability of China's energy statistics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 373-383.
  6. Zheng, Jingping, 2001. "China's official statistics: Growing with full vitality," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 333-337.
  7. Harry X Wu, 1991. "The "Real" Chinese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Pre-Reform Period 1952/1977," Chinese Economies Research Centre (CERC) Working Papers 1991-07, University of Adelaide, Chinese Economies Research Centre.
  8. Rawski, Thomas G. & Mead, Robert W., 1998. "On the trail of China's phantom farmers," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 767-781, May.
  9. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1999. " When Economic Reform Is Faster Than Statistical Reform: Measuring and Explaining Income Inequality in Rural China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(1), pages 33-56, February.
  10. Shuzhuo Li & Yexia Zhang & Marcus Feldman, 2010. "Birth Registration in China: Practices, Problems and Policies," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 297-317, June.
  11. Cai Fang, 2004. "The Consistency of China's Statistics on Employment : Stylized Facts and Implications for Public Policies," Chinese Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 37(5), pages 74-89, September.
  12. Huenemann, Ralph W., 2001. "Are China's recent transport statistics plausible?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 368-372.
  13. Scharping, Thomas, 2001. "Hide-and-seek: China's elusive population data," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 323-332.
  14. Knight, John & Ding, Sai, 2012. "China's Remarkable Economic Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199698691, March.
  15. Sinton, Jonathan E. & Fridley, David G., 2000. "What goes up: recent trends in China's energy consumption," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 671-687, August.
  16. Wu, Harry X, 1993. "The "Real" Chinese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the Pre-reform Period 1952-77," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(1), pages 63-86, March.
  17. John Knight & Jinjun Xue, 2006. "How High is Urban Unemployment in China?," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 91-107.
  18. Gibson, John & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott, 2001. "Why is income inequality so low in China compared to other countries?: The effect of household survey methods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 329-333, June.
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