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Title: China's 2004 economic census and 2006 benchmark revision of GDP statistics : more questions than answers?
Authors: Holz, Carsten A.
Keywords: National income accounting
National income and product accounts
Economic growth
Growth estimates
Benchmark revision
Economic census
Statistical breaks
Mainland China
Issue Date: 13-Mar-2007
Abstract: In 2006, China’s National Bureau of Statistics undertook a benchmark revision of national income and product accounts statistics based on the findings of the 2004 economic census. The benchmark revision covers primarily the years 1993-2004 with revised economy-wide and sectoral output values. The new data have three implications. (i) Despite all the hype only a few years ago about data falsification by local statistical authorities in China, the 2004 economic census results validate the provincial aggregate output values and invalidate the center’s national ones. (ii) At the national level, economy-wide as well as sectoral nominal values were revised but real growth rates of some sectors remained unchanged. That is not plausible, and implies that at least the secondary sector real growth rates are erroneous. (iii) The benchmark revision raises questions about the quality and meaning of a large body of official statistics. Ultimately, it casts doubt on the professionalism and sincerity of China’s statistical authority.
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