Do Countries Falsify Economic Data Strategically? Some Evidence That They Might


Review of Economics and Statistics

mai 2013, vol. 95, n°2, pp.591-616

Départements : Economie et Sciences de la décision, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : Capital ows, Public information provision, Misinformation, Benford's law, Transparency

We find evidence supporting the hypothesis that countries at times misreport their economic data in a strategic manner. Among those suspected are countries with fixed exchangerate regimes, high negative net foreign asset positions or negative current account balances, which corroborates the intuition developed with a simple economic model. We also find thatcountries with bad institutional quality rankings and those in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America release economic data of questionable veracity. Our evidence callsfor models with public signals to consider strategic misinformation and for establishing independent statistical agencies to assure the delivery of high quality economic data