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How do international organizations like IMF, WB, and CIA Fact Book collect statistics regarding a country's economic indicators?

What is their primary source of information?

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I don't know how CIA gets its information from other countries on their economic performance, but I can tell you that IMF and WB have residence representative offices in member countries. Central Banks, various ministries and other government agencies supply periodic performance records to these offices.

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  • $\begingroup$ that means they are dependent on respective governments. what if a government represents made up data (e.g. China and Bangladesh)? $\endgroup$
    – user13954
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Companies submit periodic peroformance records to various government agencies. Governments, then, pull off aggregage data to submit to IMF/WB. Companies are not allowed (e.g. in China or Bangladesh) to report directly to foreign institutions (IMF or WB). If, however, a foreign bank lends to a company in country X, the company will have to report directly to the lender until they pay off the debt. $\endgroup$
    – london
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ I am talking about the government itself. what if the government itself supplies made up information to the IMF and so forth? $\endgroup$
    – user13954
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry I do not have an answer to this question, hence my answer - all I know is that companies do not submit reports to IMF/WB etc thus everything is at the mercy of the gov's. Gov's may manipulate the data as they wish, but it must be hard to do so consistently. $\endgroup$
    – london
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 18:02
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Building on london's answer, and the question in the comments about how agencies deal with erroneous data supplied by governments, here is a relevant IMF paper.

"How to Check Integrity of Fiscal Data". The abstract:

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.

In short, the IMF advocates a process of reconciliation, whereby supplied data is checked for consistence with additional sources. For example, as london noted in a comment, any time a government claims to have paid a supplier, that transaction should also show up in the accounts of the supplier.

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