Call for Papers on the Emerging Markets

Papers welcomed on all aspects of economic activity.

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...

A paper from our sister organisation World Economics shown here on the Emerging Markets illustrates areas of particular concern and interest.

Emerging Markets Contributed Almost Two-Thirds of Global Growth Over Last Decade

Countries defined as Emerging Markets have massively outperformed all other categories, yet poor Governance and other characteristics keep portfolio weightings limited.

The contribution of Emerging Markets to global growth has been phenomenal over recent decades. Yet most global portfolios continue to give rather lowly weighting to such countries. In the case of countries such as Russia, investors are clearly right to be hesitant to invest and those that are invested in Russia now regret the decision. But in overall Emerging Market terms the growth disparity has been so large between developed and developing countries that portfolios may be seriously underweighting the great changes taking place in the world economy.

GDP in Purchasing Power Parity terms with added estimates for the size of the informal economy and adjustments for out-of-date GDP base year data.

In comparison with the 65% of output growth created within Emerging Markets, Developed Markets produced 19% contribution, Frontier Markets just 9%, and the Rest of the World 7%.

Whilst it must be remembered that it's far easier to produce impressive numbers from a low base (which has been the case for most Emerging Markets over the past thirty years), the enormous growth of China, India, South Korea (and others) in recent years means that this view is of less and less relevance today. Many economists have suggested over the past quarter century that (for example) China's extraordinary rise cannot continue at the same pace forever, which is necessarily true, sooner or later. But until Covid arrived, the slowdown in output growth in China had been modest, with growth that could only be described as rapid continuing virtually non-stop.

A further argument has also been directed at many Emerging Market countries, to the effect that the quality of their economic data is suspect, and therefore the growth rates quoted may be artificially high. The World Economics Data Quality Ratings do suggest that in some developing countries care should be taken in the interpretation of GDP and Population data, but the general quality of data has been improving, and some (for example, China again), has Population and GDP data now classed as A and B grade respectively.

► See data report on

July 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....

A Selection of Recent Journal Papers

The Informal Economy of the BRICS

This article evaluates the impact of trade liberalisation on the informal economy in the BRICS countries, which have significant unorganised sectors and trade policy changes. The article uses panel data from 1996 to 2015 to measure informality based on the method of Kaufmann and Kaliberda, which estimates the size of the informal sector as the difference between official GDP an...

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Do we Need a Fiscal Crisis in the G7?
Author: Colin Ellis

Sovereigns borrow money like other economic actors – and sometimes they borrow too much. Given the critical role of sovereigns in their national economies, this means the effective management of government debt is crucial. Over the past 20 years, sovereign debt has often increased in response to shocks like the Global Financial Crisis, euro crisis, Brexit and the COVID-19 pande...

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The Development of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) at the Global Level
Author: Anthony Elson

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have rapidly emerged as a complement to physical cash. Motivations include maintaining central bank money as a monetary system anchor, addressing digital payment reliance, and promoting financial inclusion. CBDCs aim to improve digital payment arrangements. While only three countries have formally launched CBDCs, 35 others have initiated ...

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The Missing Piece: A Copyright Index

This paper aims to add to the literature on intellectual property protection by creating an index/database to reflect the strength of copyright and related rights for 109 countries for 2023. The index is primarily based on a range of factors like coverage of the law, membership in copyright conventions and its duration, copyright applications and enforcement mechanisms. The e...

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Modern Money Theory

The article criticizes modern money theory (MMT), which is a macroeconomic policy that aims to achieve full employment by using money-financed fiscal deficits, without using any formal modelling. The article claims that MMT policy would not work in an open and internationally highly financially integrated economy, because it would either cause the money stock to grow unsustaina...

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Trade Reforms and Smooth Labour Market Adjustments in India?

There is a growing concern among economists that the trade policy reforms resulting from India’s growing participation in various multilateral and bilateral agreements has not benefitted all workers engaged in the manufacturing sector. As per existing literature, reform-led reallocation of workers from contracting to expanding sectors will be relatively less costly, if intra-in...

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Enriching the Human Development Index through the Inclusion of Affordable Healthy Diet

This article presents research findings that support adding ‘affordable healthy diet’ as an indicator in the ‘Long and healthy life’ dimension of the Human Development Index (HDI). The article also aims to link the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (End Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture) with the HDI, by showing the importance...

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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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Legal Determinants That Impact Economic Growth

Economic growth, as a leading macroeconomic objective, is supposed to be determined by different types of variables and indicators, including legal ones. Therefore, through panel data analysis of the 20 EU countries for 2013-2021 years, this research article came across legal determinants that impact economic growth. Data covered in the examination were from secondary sources,...

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Trade in the Shadows

Accurate, timely and reliable statistics on international trade in goods and services are of considerable academic and policy relevance. A major source of illicit financial flows (IFFs) out of developing countries accrues from the under-invoicing of commodity exports. Researchers have highlighted the critical importance of reliable trade data to estimate the magnitude of IFFs a...

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Argentina, Crises and the International Monetary Fund
Author: Graham Bird

Argentina has a long history of economic, financial and currency crises and has been exhibiting crisis characteristics since 2018. Crises in Argentina may be analysed using currency crisis models and in particular, experience seems to fit the first-generation model. After a break of 15 years, Argentina has had programs with the International Monetary Fund, a standby agreement i...

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Are Purchasing Power Parity Exchange Rates Misleading in Oil-Rich Gulf Countries?

This article examines the accuracy of purchasing power parity (PPP) rates in Saudi Arabia. It highlights concerns about the perceived wealth of Saudi citizens based on interviews with American expatriates and wage statistics. It discusses the limitations of the Saudi International Comparison Program (ICP) data, including variations in data quality, differences in product select...

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Institutional Capital in EU Candidate Countries

In economic theory, a growing understanding of the crucial connection between institutional capital and economic development. Modern economists stress that institutional capital is key to shaping an economic progress, influencing the policies of organisations like the World Bank and IMF, as North (1994) points out. This is especially important for developing countries. Efficien...

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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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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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Assessing Economic Data Integrity Amidst Sovereign Default

The sovereign default of Sri Lanka in April 2022 has sparked concerns about the accuracy and reliability of official economic data, including GDP, inflation, and unemployment figures. The integration of statistical agencies under government ministries in developing countries like Sri Lanka raises concerns about political influence and data integrity. The inflation data in Sri L...

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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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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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Averting Public Debt Tsunami

This study introduces an innovative policy proposal designed to improve the fiscal stance of most countries towards long-term sustainability. We suggest implementing ‘deficit taxes’ for individuals and (100-fold higher) ‘deficit fines’ for politicians in any year in which a (cyclically adjusted) budget deficit occurs. In line with the theory of ‘rational inattention’, these tax...

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