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An alternative benchmark for the validity of China’s GDP growth statistics

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Williamson, PJ 
Hoenderop, S 
Hoenderop, J 


© 2018 The Chinese Economic Association–UK. The veracity of China’s official statistics on GDP growth rates is a matter of debate in both the popular media and academic literature. Given the level of institutional development, its size, complexity and fast pace of change as an emerging economy, there are good reasons to expect that producing reliable and consistent estimates for GDP is difficult. An alternative benchmark would therefore be useful. We propose a benchmark index for the nominal GDP growth constructed bottom-up from publically available and audited total Revenue numbers of 150 major Chinese listed companies covering 19 industry sectors. This benchmark index closely tracks the official statistics, but with some interesting deviations. Validation by using Gross Margin numbers for our Chinese sample and US data produced similar results. The methodology also allowed us to produce estimates of growth at the industry level, which highlights some important changes underway in the structure growth patterns of the Chinese economy.



China GDP statistics, GDP measurement, economic growth, GDP benchmarks, accuracy of national statistics

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Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies

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Informa UK Limited