“Will the real GDP growth in Turkey please stand up?”

Recent Turkish economic growth data is suspect, because it fails to be reflected in other measures of economic expansion, writes Erik Meyersson, assistant professor at the Stockholm School of Economics.

In an extensive study, Meyersson said he failed to find close correlation between economic growth data published by the government for 2010 to 2015, particularly a revised set of figures introduced just over a year ago that showed higher growth, and other economic indicators.

In December 2016, five months after an attempted military coup and with the economy contracting, the Turkish statistics office revised the size of the economy to $861 billion from $720 billion for 2015, adding $141 billion to the size of the economy almost overnight. Per capita income, used as an indicator for standard of living, was changed to $11,014 from $9,257 previously.

The alternative indicators cited in Meyersson's study were energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, freight, passenger traffic, bank loans and construction permits; key indicators of economic performance in Turkey.

Bank loans and construction permits exhibited higher rates of expansion just when GDP growth was slower, and the remaining four items  -- energy, carbon monoxide, freight and passenger traffic -- tended to trace older data for economic growth rather closely (2004-2009) but not, paradoxically, the newer data, he said.

“Altogether, these variables predict GDP growth rates that are far below that of the official releases,” Meyersson said. “Will the real GDP growth in Turkey please stand up?”