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On the accuracy of Latin American trade statistics: A nonparametric test for 1925


  • M. del Mar Rubio Varas
  • Mauricio Folchi


This paper proposes a nonparametric test in order to establish the level of accuracy of the foreign trade statistics of 17 Latin American countries when contrasted with the trade statistics of the main partners in 1925. The Wilcoxon Matched-Pairs Ranks test is used to determine whether the differences between the data registered by exporters and importers are meaningful, and if so, whether the differences are systematic in any direction. The paper tests for the reliability of the data registered for two homogeneous products, petroleum and coal, both in volume and value. The conclusion of the several exercises performed is that we cannot accept the existence of statistically significant differences between the data provided by the exporters and the registered by the importing countries in most cases. The qualitative historiography of Latin American describes its foreign trade statistics as mostly unusable. Our quantitative results contest this view.

Suggested Citation

  • M. del Mar Rubio Varas & Mauricio Folchi, 2005. "On the accuracy of Latin American trade statistics: A nonparametric test for 1925," Economics Working Papers 879, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:879

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yeats, Alexander J, 1990. "On the Accuracy of Economic Observations: Do Sub-Saharan Trade Statistics Mean Anything?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 135-156, May.
    2. Carreras, Albert & Hofman, André A. & Tafunell, Xavier & Yáñez, César, 2003. "El desarrollo económico de América Latina en épocas de globalización. Una agenda de investigación," Estudios Estadísticos 24, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    3. van Bergeijk, Peter A G, 1995. "The Accuracy of International Economic Observations," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 1-20, January.
    4. Carreras, Albert & Folchi, Mauricio & Hofman, André A. & Rubio, Mar & Tafunell, Xavier & Yáñez, César, 2006. "Importaciones y modernización económica en América Latina durante la primera mitad del siglo XX: las claves de un programa de investigación," Estudios Estadísticos 44, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    5. Rozanski, Jerzy & Yeats, Alexander, 1994. "On the (in)accuracy of economic observations: An assessment of trends in the reliability of international trade statistics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 103-130, June.
    6. Basim Makhoul & Samuel Otterstrom, 1998. "Exploring the accuracy of international trade statistics," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(12), pages 1603-1616.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mar Rubio & Mauricio Folchi, 2005. "The apparent consumption of fossil energy as an indicator of modernisation in Latin America by 1925: a proposal using foreign trade statistics," Working Papers 5056, Economic History Society.

    More about this item


    Latin America; statistical accuracy; international trade data; nonparametric methods; petroleum trade; coal trade.;

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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