Capacity Ratings for National Statistics Offices
Which country offices can produce good economic data?
World Economics Research Programme
31 January 2020
The quality of regular national income estimates and also population estimates during and between censuses depends to a considerable extent on the statistical capacity of national statistics offices. Statistical capacity, and consequently the ability to adhere to global standards, depends critically on the resources and information available at any given time and place.
In order to estimate the relative quality of official GDP and population data by country across the globe World Economics makes use of a measure of the statistical capacity of national statistics offices. The data used for this measure is the World Bank's Statistical Capacity Index (SCI), which is a composite score between 0 and 100 assessing the capacity of a countries statistical system to collect and disseminate economic data. The international Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) Task Team was established in 2002 to help measure country statistical capacity and the SCI was created in 2004 based on publicly available data. It was designed to assess a country’s statistical capacity in an internationally comparable and cost-effective manner.
The SCI is based on a diagnostic framework assessing the following areas of statistical capacity: methodology; data sources; and periodicity and timeliness of the release of data. Countries are scored against 25 criteria in each of these areas, using publicly available information and/or country input.
The first dimension, statistical methodology, measures a country’s ability to adhere to international recommended standards and methods. This aspect is captured by assessing guidelines and procedures used to compile macroeconomic statistics, and social data reporting and estimation practices. Countries are evaluated against a set of criteria such as use of an