Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Peterson Institute, Arvind Subramanian, discusses GDP and purchasing power parity data and cites his essay co-authored with Nancy Birdsall on the World Bank in Business Standard.
From the article:
"The World Bank has just replenished its coffers by about $40 billion to keep concessional finance flowing to poor countries. Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development and I have argued (http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/14625) that a large share of the Bank’s resources — substantially larger than currently foreseen — should be channelled to activities that produce global public goods. A great example of such goods is knowledge produced by the Bank, including the knowledge embodied in the new GDP data generated by the Bank’s statisticians. Like the efforts of the PWT in the past, this knowledge has transformed and enriched our understanding of the poorer parts of the world.
We should therefore raise a toast to these humble folk, the bean counters, who beaver away at such unsexy but invaluable tasks. But as we do so, we should not shy away from asking this question: can the loanwallahs at the World Bank (and elsewhere) make comparable claims of adding value to the world."