The release of the 2005 ICP results has led to increased interest by economists and policy makers in analysing relative activity levels and living standards across countries. The consistency of such comparisons depends on the comparability of each country's national accounts no matter whether PPPs or exchange rates are used to convert the values into a common currency.
The 2011 ICP requires national accounts data that are consistent with the conceptual framework set out in System of National Accounts, 1993 (the “1993 SNA”) and compiled on the basis of the “expenditure approach” to measuring GDP. The accuracy of a country's national accounts depends not only on compliance with the 1993 SNA but also on the completeness of the survey data used to compile the accounts and the extent to which estimates of activities in the “non-observed economy” are included in gross domestic product (GDP). The 2005 ICP results drew attention to some of the errors and inconsistencies in the estimates of GDP in national currencies. In some cases, the preliminary national accounts data supplied to the ICP Global Office were revised very significantly by the time the final 2005 data were provided, at least partly due to the inconsistencies identified by the ICP editing procedures.
From the commencement of the 2011 ICP round, the Global Office has concentrated on encouraging countries to produce the best possible set of national accounts. Detailed documentation has been provided at an early stage, specifying requirements and describing in detail the procedures that can be used to improve national accounts estimates. In addition, the Global Office has developed several forms to assist countries to supply their data and to document the data sources and the adjustments required to convert the survey data to national accounts aggregates.
Keywords: International Comparison Program; National accounts; Purchasing power parities; Gross domestic product
Biography: Born in Congo-Brazzaville, Michel MOUYELO-KATOULA is a national of Luxembourg. He records 37 years of international experience in statistics, economics and planning, as well as lecturing in universities and international statistical training institutes, and consulting for several major international organizations. This includes 28 years devoted to the International Comparison Program (ICP), which he is the current Global Manager, at the World Bank.