The International Comparison Program (ICP) is a worldwide statistical initiative to collect comparative price data and estimate purchasing power parities (PPPs) of the world's economies. Using PPPs instead of market exchange rates to convert currencies makes it possible to compare the output of economies and the welfare of their inhabitants in real terms - that is, controlling for differences in price levels.
The 2011 ICP is underway and is expected to be the largest ICP round to date, covering up to 170 economies. The ICP entails large price data collection and detailed national accounts expenditure data compilation. The resulting ICP databases contain valuable price and national accounts information, which could support the empirical research of many international, regional, and national agencies, as well as universities and research centres.
In the 2005 round, the Data Archive and Access Policy strongly limited the researchers' access to detailed data mostly as a result of country's confidentiality concerns, although in reality the main concern was data quality. Based on the experience of the 2005 round, the 2011 round will attempt to provide access to more detailed data whilst striking an appropriate balance between participating countries' confidentiality requirements and the users' needs for access to detailed data. A strategy policy on data access for the 2011 round has been agreed and the key features of this policy will be outlined in this paper.
Keywords: International comparison program; Data access; Poverty
Biography: Dennis was Australian Statistician from 2000-2007 and is now undertaking a range of statistical advisory services. He is a former President of the ISI. He has been involved with the ICP for the last 10 years, first as Chairman of the Global Executive Board and more recently as a consultant on data access policy.