China's Reform Period Economic Growth: Why Angus Maddison Got It Wrong and What That Means
China's economic growth statistics of the late 1990s have repeatedly been questioned. Angus Maddison in a 1998 OECD study goes further in that he revised China's official average annual real growth rate for the first seventeen years of economic reform, 1978 through 1995, downward by 2.39 percentage points per year. His study is the most thorough criticism of Chinese official statistics to date, and the one with the largest impact on the data. By 1995, the revisions imply 150% less output, in 1978 terms, than the official data do. Angus Maddison's revisions were subsequently incorporated into the Penn World Tables; the findings of countless cross-country studies are therefore affected by Angus Maddison's growth estimates for China. This paper examines Angus Maddison's revisions to official data and finds them invalid. Angus Maddison's growth estimates for China in the reform period constitute no alternative to the official data.
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