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Carol S. Carson and Ms. Lucie Laliberté

Both national accounts and balance of payments are based on multiple, complex source data and typically undergo several routine revisions as more and better source data are incorporated into the final estimates. As a result, neither dataset can be subjected directly to the usual statistical measures of sampling biases, variances, and other measurement error properties. In this context, this note, which is addressed to those interested in these datasets and others, explores four approaches that shed light on the accuracy and reliability of these datasets: examination of statistical discrepancies, comparison with other data, analysis of revisions, and judgmental evaluation.

Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia and Gonzalo Pastor

This paper examines the usefulness of testing the conformity of macroeconomic data with Benford's law as indicator of data quality. Most of the macroeconomic data series tested conform with Benford's law. However, questions emerge on the reliability of such tests as indicators of data quality once conformity with Benford's law is contrasted with the data quality ratings included in the data module of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (data ROSCs). Furthermore, the analysis shows that rejection of Benford's law may be unrelated to the quality of statistics, and instead may result from marked structural shifts in the data series. Hence, nonconformity with Benford's law should not be interpreted as a reliable indication of poor quality in macroeconomic data.

Mr. Pokar D Khemani and Mr. Benoit Wiest

The accuracy and reliability of government accounts and fiscal data is an issue in a number of countries, with significant and persistent discrepancies that can indicate underlying weaknesses in the country’s public financial management system. This note provides guidance on how to detect issues with data quality, perform integrity checks, and reconcile fiscal data from various sources. It discusses the importance of reconciliation to provide reasonable assurance on the quality and reliability of government fiscal data, explores the main reasons for which discrepancies may arise, and explains how to conduct quality checks. The note concludes with recommendations for country teams of concrete steps to ensure data quality.

Mr. Mico Mrkaic

The study presents an analysis of the information content of IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) indicators. There are significant differences in the quantity of information between DQAF dimensions and sub-dimensions. The most informative DQAF dimension is accessibility, followed by the prerequisites of quality and accuracy and reliability. The least informative DQAF dimensions are serviceability and assurances of integrity. The implication of these findings is that the current DQAF indicators do not maximize the amount of information that could be obtained during data ROSC missions. An additional set of assessments that would refine the existing DQAF indicators would be beneficial in maximizing the information gathered during data ROSC mission. The entropy of DQAF indicators could also be used in the construction of a cardinal index of data quality.

Ms. Jan Bové and Mahinder S. Gill

This paper examines the linkages between key macroeconomic statistics: external debt, balance of payments, government finance, and monetary statistics, which enable analysts and policy makers to monitor economic developments. The paper reviews statistical compilation issues and concludes that, while considerable progress has been made in recent years to account for external debt and related flows, further progress must be made. It makes recommendations, such as improved communication among compilers of related statistics, that may help compilers to achieve greater consistency between statistics concerned and thereby enhancing their usefulness for analysts and policy makers. The need for increased resources to develop statistical systems is also recognized.

Céline Allard


La dynamique de croissance en Afrique subsaharienne demeure fragile, ce qui représente une rupture par rapport à la rapide expansion qui avait été enregistrée depuis le début du millénaire. L’année 2016 a été difficile pour de nombreux pays et la croissance régionale est descendue à 1,4 %, le niveau le plus faible depuis plus de deux décennies. La plupart des exportateurs de pétrole ont été en récession et la conjoncture est restée difficile dans les autres pays riches en ressources naturelles. En revanche, dans les pays pauvres en ressources naturelles la croissance a continué d’être robuste. Grâce à une modeste reprise, la croissance devrait se situer à environ 2,6 % en 2017, niveau toutefois inférieur à celui des tendances passées et trop faible pour remettre l’Afrique subsaharienne sur la voie de l’amélioration des niveaux de vie. La région continue d’offrir un énorme potentiel de croissance, mais la détérioration des perspectives globales tient en partie au caractère insuffisant des ajustements opérés par les pouvoirs publics. Pour mettre en valeur ce potentiel, la région devra mener des politiques saines et avisées qui lui permettront de faire redémarrer le moteur de la croissance.

Céline Allard


Growth momentum in sub-Saharan Africa remains fragile, marking a break from the rapid expansion witnessed since the turn of the millennium. 2016 was a difficult year for many countries, with regional growth dipping to 1.4 percent—the lowest level of growth in more than two decades. Most oil exporters were in recession, and conditions in other resource-intensive countries remained difficult. Other nonresource-intensive countries however, continued to grow robustly. A modest recovery in growth of about 2.6 percent is expected in 2017, but this falls short of past trends and is too low to put sub-Saharan Africa back on a path of rising living standards. While sub-Saharan Africa remains a region with tremendous growth potential, the deterioration in the overall outlook partly reflects insufficient policy adjustment. In that context, and to reap this potential, strong and sound domestic policy measures are needed to restart the growth engine.

Robert Di Calogero, K. Wilhelm Nahr, and Richard T. Stillson

The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.

Ms. Jan Bové

The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.

Evgeny Gavrilenkov and Mr. Vincent Koen

Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201 This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during July-December 1994 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period.