Improving International Comparisons of Real Output: The ICP 2005 Benchmark and its Implications for China
The latest round of the International Comparisons Program (ICP 2005) compares the purchasing power of currencies and real output of 146 countries. Using price quote data from nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region, we consider ways of improving the methods used in ICP 2005 and new applications of these methods (e.g., for calculating rural-urban price differentials). The most striking result in ICP 2005 was that China came out 40 percent smaller than previously thought. We also evaluate the extent to which this finding can be attributed to excessive sampling of prices in China from urban areas or of unrepresentative products.
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