No. 471 - The Irish GDP in 2016. After the disaster comes a dilemma

The paper examines the disruption of statistics that occurred with the publication of Ireland's 2015 GDP at +26.3 per cent year on year. The figure was greeted by international disbelief. Ireland’s statistical authorities reacted with the publication, for the main aggregates, of modified data in parallel with the official ones, which were much less affected by the bias on value added. The bias resulted from the relocation in Ireland of a huge amount of intellectual property capital.

The large size of intellectual property capital and of some international transactions on goods for processing by multinational enterprises can severely bias statistics. To fix the link between statistical representation and economic fact means to depart from the legal form to let the substance prevail, i.e. depart from the description given by business reports and administrative data. The answer should be the outcome of a discussion between statisticians, economists and institutions.

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