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Impearls: Economies & Areas Ia - California's economy vis-a-vis France, Britain, India & China

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Earthdate 2002-11-18

California's economy vis-a-vis France, Britain, India & China

George Huang, economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), responded to Impearls' earlier article with an e-mail dated 2002-11-12 18:02 UT.

Dear Mr. McNeil,

Our GDP data and statement is available at: http://www.e-edge.org/special/GDP.htm

When we did the 2000 comparison back in 2001, OECD data for France was much lower, which allowed California to move up.  This year OECD revised the French GDP data and France, instead of California, was no. 5 back in 2000.  This is where the 5th/6th controversy originated.  The truth is (and we mention this explicitly in the comparison table) that the changes in rankings came from the drastic depreciation of the value of euro.  It seems that no one ever reads that sentence and instead take our comparison and use it in an opportunistic fashion which we detest.

We use OECD and IMF data because we believe it is the best available set from a single source (actually, two sources because OECD doesn't cover everyone we needed to know).  Our California estimate is proprietary and based on published personal income data from the California Dept. of Finance and GSP data from the BEA.

We did the comparison to show how large California's economy is, and it was never intended for the GDP race that Davis loves to show off.  In fact, after we published the GDP data, we came under pressure from the State.  (And this is as much as I can tell you, please don't ask more about this.  You can sense in the published statement that we were defending our estimates against someone.  Now you know.)

As for China & India, I do not know why CIA's estimates are higher.  Perhaps OECD and IMF rely solely on the nations' official estimates, while CIA add in the underground economy.  As I said before, we had to find one or two sources that provide data for all we needed and based on a common set of methodology, and OCED and IMF were the sources chosen.  No one in the economic analysis field uses CIA's estimates for such analyses.

Sincerely,
George Huang
Associate Economist



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