NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The International Comparison Program: Current Status and Problems

Irving B. Kravis, Robert E. Lipsey

NBER Working Paper No. 3304 (Also Reprint No. r1711)
Issued in March 1990
NBER Program(s):   ITI   IFM

This paper reviews the International Comparison Program (ICP), a worldwide effort to produce international comparisons of real GDP and its components and purchasing power parities of currencies (PPPs). The robustness of results and future work are considered.

A generous estimate of margins of uncertainty in the benchmark estimates might be 20-25 per cent for low-income countries and 7 per cent for high-income countries. The errors in extrapolations to countries not covered by the surveys could go as high as 30-35 per cent. That is still a small range of error compared to that stemming from the use of exchange rates to convert own-currency to common currency measures of output. Furthermore, exchange rate conversions are even more sensitive to methodology than PPP conversions. The notion that exchange comparisons rest on a simple and transparent procedure using standard market data is illusory. The future of ICP measures seems assured in Europe, particularly in the European Community. The prospects for systematic worldwide comparisons do not look as bright. A renewed effort by the United Nations Statistical Office and the World Bank would be needed to maintain an ICP with comprehensive coverage and comparable methods in all major regions.

download in pdf format
   (314 K)

download in djvu format
   (270 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (314 K) or DjVu (270 K) (Download viewer) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3304

Published:

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Deaton and Heston w14499 Understanding PPPs and PPP-based national accounts
Kravis and Lipsey The International Comparison Program: Current Status and Problems
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us