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  • Mathieu Provencher

Lying with data

Kenya jumped from being a low-income country to a middle-income country last week, and all that overnight!!!! Where did that huge economic boom come from? Accounting... they simply started counting things they were not counting before.

Always be careful with data, read well the definitions and the changes in definition when looking at it. The same happened in the USA a number of months ago (it's in one of my previous posts) when they started counting R&D as economic activity.

In Peru, the definition of poverty (if I remember well) was changed a few years ago and all of a sudden you had lifted all these people out of extreme poverty even though their situation was exactly the same as the day before that change...

Also, I strongly suspect that the definition of internet penetration was modified right after Garcia (his latest mandate), making it look like you had multiplied by 10 the amount of people now having access to the internet, and all of this in a matter of weeks!

Be wary of data (as Argentina's reported inflation figures for example) and be very skeptical of people using data loosely (except for your favorite Econ Professor of course).

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