Purchasing Power Parities for Policy Making: A Visual Guide to Using Data from the International Comparison Program

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The International Comparison Program (ICP) is a worldwide statistical initiative led by the World Bank under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission. It produces comparable price and volume measures of gross domestic product (GDP) and its expenditure aggregates across economies. Through a partnership with international, regional, sub-regional and national agencies, the ICP collects price data and GDP expenditures to estimate purchasing power parities (PPPs) for the world’s economies. This guide provides an overview of how data and indicators based on these ICP outputs are used in a host of analyses, including monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, to inform policy making across the socioeconomic spectrum at the national, regional, and international levels. Seventy charts and maps illustrating these uses are organised under eleven policy-focused chapters: the size of the economy and price levels; poverty and inequality; trade and competitiveness; labor costs, wages, and social safety nets; food and nutrition; health; education; energy and climate; infrastructure; human development; and administrative uses. The indicators are produced by the World Bank and other organizations including Eurostat, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Energy Agency, the International Labour Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the International Telecommunication Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Economic Forum, and the World Health Organization. The guide also highlights notable uses of underlying ICP data on food prices and on public sector wages, as well as the wealth of data from the ICP database itself, such as price levels, real expenditures, and expenditure shares for aggregates below GDP for each economy. In addition, the guide includes a comprehensive chapter on the uses and limitations of PPPs and analyses for which they are appropriate, as well as a technical note outlining the concepts and definitions of terms used. A web-based version ( ) is also available, and more information can be found on
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World Bank. 2021. Purchasing Power Parities for Policy Making: A Visual Guide to Using Data from the International Comparison Program. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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