Sunday 4 December 2016

Nothing funny about those joke figures for Irish GDP

Published 28/07/2016 | 02:30

A funny thing happened on the way to the merger of carmakers Daimler-Benz and Chrysler in 1998. When the highly profitable German company re-filed its accounts in line with the rules of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, it posted a loss. Nothing else had changed, there was no jiggery-pokey; just accountancy.

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Presumably this was the work of Wagnerian dwarves rather than Irish leprechauns, but the reasons for this oddity and the 2015 explosion in the official size of Irish GDP are much the same.

The dictionary definition of GDP (gross domestic product) could hardly be simpler - the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders over a particular period.

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