The Economic Perspective: “Should We Believe China’s Economic Statistics?”

This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program asks if we should believe China’s economic statistics.  Mike, like most countries, China issues numerous statistics measuring the health of the country’s economy.  Yet there has long been a concern that China may be overstating its economic performance. Is this concern valid?

  • A new study by NBER indicates the concern may be valid
  • In US and most countries, economic statistics are developed by professionals
  • There are tight rules against interference, particularly by elected officials
  • Different in China
  • In China, national numbers are the result of summing local numbers
  • Local numbers are developed by local officials with little oversight
  • Worry that local numbers may often be too optimistic
  • The NBER study suggests this, and indicates China’s growth rate may be overstated by 2% points
  • So, rather than 6% growth closer to 4%
  • I’m MW

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.