OECD Statistics Working Papers

The OECD Statistics Working Paper Series - managed by the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate – is designed to make available in a timely fashion and to a wider readership selected studies prepared by staff in the Secretariat or by outside consultants working on OECD projects. The papers included are of a technical, methodological or statistical policy nature and relate to statistical work relevant to the organisation. The Working Papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

Joint Working Papers:

Testing the evidence, how good are public sector responsiveness measures and how to improve them? (with OECD Public Governance Directorate)

Measuring Well-being and Progress in Countries at Different Stages of Development: Towards a More Universal Conceptual Framework (with OECD Development Centre)

Measuring and Assessing Job Quality: The OECD Job Quality Framework (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Forecasting GDP during and after the Great Recession: A contest between small-scale bridge and large-scale dynamic factor models (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Decoupling of wages from productivity: Macro-level facts (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Which policies increase value for money in health care? (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Compiling mineral and energy resource accounts according to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) 2012 (with OECD Environment Directorate)


Using unit value indices as proxies for international merchandise trade prices

In light of the need for detailed and timely internationally comparable trade price indices, this paper describes a multi-tiered methodology to mitigate many of the empirical challenges associated with using customs data, to provide more robust estimates of unit value indices (UVIs) by country and product. UVIs are available for both exports and imports, by reporting country and the CPA 2-digit level of classification. Although the approach cannot capture changes in the quality of products nor compositional changes happening at a lower than HS 6-digit classification, the results indicate that at higher levels of aggregation (SITC 1-digit level), estimated UVIs closely follow price changes obtained from other sources. This is observed both for products with significant and rapid quality changes, such as hi-tech products, and for products with a low rate of quality changes, such as commodities, other primary and low-tech goods. Furthermore, products where little quality change occurs over time show similarity between UVIs and price changes from other sources at lower levels of disaggregation. The methodology is used to produce the Merchandise Trade Price Index and the data is made publically available on .Stat under the International Trade and Balance of Payments heading.


JEL: C82: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs / Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access; C43: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics / Index Numbers and Aggregation; Leading Indicators; E31: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles / Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error