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China's Statistical System in Transition: Challenges, Data Problems, and Institutional Innovations

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While China's official statistics are often regarded as of questionable quality, critics are rarely aware of just how difficult it is to compile accurate statistics in a developing and transition economy. This paper traces the challenges economic reforms pose for the development of China's statistical system, establishes a typology of the resulting data problems in official Chinese statistics today, and examines how these challenges and data problems are being addressed through institutional innovations in data compilation. Analysis of China's data compilation methods allows broad judgments on data quality. Special attention is given to GDP data as the aggregate measure of productive activities in China.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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