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OECD Factbook 2008

Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics

image of OECD Factbook 2008
OECD Factbook 2008 is the fourth edition of a comprehensive and dynamic statistical annual from the OECD. More than 100 indicators cover a wide range of areas: economy, agriculture, education, energy, environment, foreign aid, health and quality of life, industry, information and communications, population/labour force, trade and investment, taxation, public expenditure and R&D. This year, the OECD Factbook features a focus chapter on productivity. Data are provided for all OECD member countries with area totals, and in some cases, for selected non-member economies. For each indicator, there is a two-page spread. A text page includes a short introduction followed by a detailed definition of the indicator, comments on comparability of the data, an assessment of long-term trends related to the indicator, and a list of references for further information on the indicator. The next page contains a table and a graph providing - at a glance - the key message conveyed by the data. A dynamic link (StatLink) is provided for each table directing the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel® format.

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Size of GDP

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the standard measure of the value of the goods and services produced by a country during a period. Per capita GDP is a broad indicator of economic living standards. Each country calculates GDP in its own currency and, in order to compare countries, these estimates have to be converted into a common currency. Often, the conversion is made using exchange rates, but these give a misleading comparison of the real volumes of goods and services in the GDP. Comparisons of real GDP between countries can best be made using purchasing power parities (PPPs) to convert each country’s GDP into a common currency. PPPs are currency converters that equalise the purchasing power of the different currencies (see also Rates of conversion).

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