Call for Papers on Brazil

Papers welcomed on all aspects of economic activity in Brazil.

Papers of particular interest are on the accuracy of economic and demographic statistics, on the size and shape of the informal economy, on income and capital wealth per capita, inequality , the debt burden, and similar subjects.

Papers on all aspects of statistical methods for producing economic data, including traditional and non-traditional means of data collection are equally welcome. And papers on the practical problems of gathering data in large populous developing countries is a further area of interest. See submission guidelines...

Two papers from our sister organisation World Economics shown here on Brazil illustrates areas of particular concern and interest.

Brazil Experiences a Decade of Stagnation

* GDP in Purchasing Power Parity terms with added estimates for the size of the informal economy and adjustments for out-of-date GDP base year data.

Brazil’s economy has marked time in the last decade massively underperforming as an Emerging Market. Once earmarked for its growth potential as a member of the BRIC group (Brazil, Russia, India, China), it has delivered an exceptionally poor cumulative average ten-year annual growth rate of real GDP of only 0.4% compared to 5.5% in India and 6.2% in China.

► See Brazil data report on

October Editorial

Dangerously Misleading Debt Data

The most powerful form of lie is the omission – George Orwell

Debt poses a serious problem in most developed countries, and in many developing ones. But statistical omission and obfuscation hide the true problem. Rapidly rising numbers of old age dependants plus unfunded pay-as-you-go social security schemes are already causing unrest. More is likely to follow as state backed promises of medical and old age support become impossible to fulfil.

The problem is far greater than official debt figures suggest. Government debt data in most countries massively understates the real situation. Almost all commentary on country debt is focussed on official Government country debt as a percentage of GDP. But this number represents only a fraction of real country indebtedness. More than 20 years ago the problem was illustrated vividly by Kotlikoff and Burns, in a book...

A Selection of Recent Journal Papers

Measuring the Non-observed Economy in Vietnam

This article takes advantage of new political demand at the government’s highest level to focus on measurement of the informal economy in Vietnam from a statistical perspective. The main challenges, concepts and definitions regarding the informal economy within the framework of the non-observed economy are reviewed. A discussion of alternative methodologies for measuring the ...

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Hyperinflation in Suriname

Primary data reveal two new instances of hyperinflation, both occurring in Suriname in the 1990s. In June 1993 and October 1994, Suriname experienced monthly inflation rates of 208% and 58.6%, respectively. With these additions, the Hanke-Krus World Hyperinflation Table now records 66 hyperinflation episodes. These are the first recorded instances of hyperinflation in Suriname....

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Pakistan’s Poor Governance and Capital Flight
Author: Dev Kar

Pakistan’s chronic economic mismanagement, as reflected in persistently large current account deficits, compelled it to enter into 22 financing arrangements with the International Monetary Fund, the latest one being in 2019. The key factors behind capital flight from Pakistan are its poor scores on governance, such as on political stability and absence of violence and control ...

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Inequality: A Problem for the Indian Economy

The economic slow-down and COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted India’s extreme crisis inequality. India is an unequal country: 84% of household sector income declined in 2021, at the same time that the number of billionaires went up from 102 to 142. According to the World Inequality Report, the income of the top 10% of the population is 20 times that of the bottom 50% and this g...

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Governments Manipulate Data
Author: Bruno S. Frey

Governments widely manipulate official economic and social data—but the public tends to disregard this fact. There is extensive empirical evidence that governments extensively manipulate official data. National statistical offices should be independent of their government to fight such manipulation, and alternative data producers should be supported. The public should be aware ...

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GDP Upgrade: How Can One Measure the Quality of Economic Growth?

Sustainable per capita economic growth is possible if the quality of goods and services produced by the economy increases. US GDP growth may be underestimated by 0.4–0.6% per year because of unmeasured (undetected) improvement in the quality of goods and services. Calculation and publication of new statistical indicators such as IQI for separate product groups and the impact of...

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Measuring EU-Wide Inequality

EU-wide inequality is higher than official figures by Eurostat suggest. With a Gini coefficient of 0.35 and a quintile ratio of 8.4 in 2018 (5.8 at purchasing power parity), it reaches the level of US inequality. This is a major driver of migration and relocation of production within the European Union (EU), both of which have led to a rise of nativist votes and Brexit. Relativ...

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Measuring the Informal Economy in Morocco

This paper, relying on the electricity consumption method, attempts to both measure the size of the informal economy in Morocco and construct a larger time series dataset for the Moroccan informal economy. We use the Kaufmann and Kaliberda (1996) model to calculate the size of the informal economy over the period 1971 to 2014. The results show that this hidden part of the econ...

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Are Sovereign Defaults (Partly) Bad Luck?
Author: Colin Ellis

When sovereigns default, the consequences can be disastrous. Domestic banks and companies often suffer alongside their governments, and the sovereigns themselves face high risks of re-defaulting. One contributor to default is often disappointing growth – examining a sample of defaults since 2000, growth has typically fallen short relative to independent forecasts made both one ...

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Climate Change and the Global Economy
Author: Julian Gough

Over the period 1998-2022 global temperatures remained generally unchanged despite a 14% rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus contradicting the IPCC's scientific theory of climate change. The IPPC's flawed theory, accepted by most governments, will inevitably lead to mistaken economic policies which will prove both costly and pointless. The UK has...

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Nigerian Statistical Data and their Trustworthiness

As at 2020, the population of Nigeria was said to be about 200 million (World Bank, 2020). However, the actual population of Nigeria remains a subject for national debates, since there are no databases for birth or death rates. To ascertain the trustworthiness of the statistical data in Nigeria, this study used various secondary data. Critical discourse analysis was used to ana...

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Statistical Data Collection Challenges amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The importance of reliable statistical data is even more urgent in the context of the coronavirus crisis, in terms of managing the risks for public health, restarting the world economy and addressing the long-term economic and social impact of the pandemic. Government lockdowns, social distancing and work from home restrictions, imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, pose i...

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Shedding Light on the Shadow Economy

The shadow or informal economy covers all economic activities which are hidden from official authorities for monetary, regulatory and institutional reasons. Although widely used, multiple indicator-multiple cause (MIMIC) models have been criticised, and we develop a modified model and database covering 157 countries over the years 1991 to 2017. We tested our model using satelli...

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De-Carbonising the World Economy
Author: Julian Gough

Global temperatures for most of the first two decades of the twenty-first century remained on plateau, showing little response to the 13% rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. De-carbonising the world economy, by reducing the burning of fossil fuels, is based on a flawed scientific theory and will have little effect on global temperatures. Climate chang...

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