National Institute of Statistics and Census of Argentina


National Institute of Statistics and Census of Argentina
National Institute of Statistics and Census of Argentina
INDEC Logo.png
Logo
Agency overview
Formed 1968
Preceding agency National Council of Statistics and Censuses of Argentina
Headquarters Buenos Aires, Argentina
Website
www.indec.gov.ar
INDEC headquarters, Buenos Aires

National Statistics and Censuses Institute (Spanish: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos, INDEC) is the Argentine government agency responsible for the collection and processing of statistical data. The institute also analyses economic and social indicators such as inflation rate, consumer price index and unemployment, among others.

Contents

Functions

The INDEC is supervised by different federal agencies, and is under the direct oversight of the Secretaría de Programación Económica y Regional (Secretariat of Economic and Regional Planning) of the Ministerio de Economía y Producción (Ministry of Economy and Production, MECON).

The INDEC coordinates the Sistema Estadístico Nacional (National Statistics' System, SEN) through which the national, provincial and local statistical services work together. Each provincial government has a statistics bureau called Dirección de Estadística, that collects and processes information.

The Argentine Constitution does not provide for a national census. These were conducted only generationally until 1947 then roughly every decade since then. National censuses have been taken in 1869, 1895, 1914, 1947, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1991, 2001 and 2010.

Demographic and economic information is permanently updated with off-year censuses, such as the Economic and Agricultural Censuses, and the sampled surveys published in Encuesta Permanente de Hogares (Permanent Survey of Households); which are delivered every 6 months. Monthly releases include figures on inflation, employment, trade balances, industrial production, construction, retail sales, and GDP.

History

The first national statistics' centre was the Dirección General de Estadística (General Directorate of Statistics), established in 1894 as a division of the Ministry of Public Finances. Fifty years later, in 1944, the Consejo Nacional de Estadística y Censos (National Council of Statistics and Censuses) was created, with dependencies on both the Ministry of the Interior and the National Presidential Office. Other agencies were later formed in 1950, 1952, and 1956 before the final creation of the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos in 1968 by Law 17622 and Decrees 3110/70 and 1831/93.

The bureau's headquarters are located in a downtown, rationalist building designed by Arturo Dubourg, commissioned by President Juan Perón for use as the Ministry of Labour, and completed in 1956.

Controversy

Controversy arose when the government of President Néstor Kirchner replaced Graciela Bevacqua, the Consumer Prices Indicator director (Índice de Precios al Consumidor - IPC). Bevacqua is reported to have arrived at a consumer price increase figure of almost 2.0% for January 2007 from internal data but the rate officially reported to the public was 1.1%.[1]

The head of INDEC resigned in March[2], and a new board of directors led by Ana María Edwin was installed by the Ministry of Economy; the board would operate under the supervision of Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno.[3] A group of employees protested publicly[4][5] at what they saw as a violation of INDEC's autonomy, and an attempt by the Economy Ministry under Felisa Miceli to illegally keep inflation indicators under one percent a month.[6] Prosecutors gathered evidence that high government officials had inquired repeatedly of statistical staff how to get lower inflation numbers, and that in early 2007 managers of the price indexes had excluded products whose prices had risen more than 15% in the survey and changed price data after it came in from the field workers.[7]

Since then, INDEC's headline inflation statistics have been substantially lower than estimates from analysts in the private sector and also lower than INDEC's implicit private consumption price index which is incorporated in the measurement of real GDP. Taken from the first quarter of 2007, each index (from the same quarter the year before) has read as follows:

Reported consumer price inflation in Argentina[8][9]
Quarter Consumer prices
Implicit private
consumption prices
I 2007 9.5% 10.6%
II 2007 8.8% 11.7%
III 2007 8.6% 14.8%
IV 2007 8.5% 14.9%
I 2008 8.5% 15.7%
II 2008 9.1% 19.7%
III 2008 9.1% 18.2%
IV 2008 7.8% 15.7%
I 2009 6.6% 12.4%
II 2009 5.5% 11.8%
III 2009 5.9% 11.8%

The discrepancy has led to exchanged accusations of politically-motivated statistical legerdemain between the ruling party and most of the political opposition, on both left and right. Officials facing election have an incentive to understate the headline CPI figure. Opposition figures frequently relied on estimates made by figures such as Orlando Ferreres (a former Bunge y Born agribusiness executive and Economic Planning Secretary for a leading opponent, former President Carlos Menem).[10]

The practice yielded the ruling party no political benefit, and helped contribute to their loss in the October 2009 mid-term elections. An alternative explanation for the policy could rest on government finances: the national government has issued around US$100 billion in government bonds. Payments on almost US$50 billion of this are indexed to inflation.[11] Other government bonds are tied in value to GDP growth. A 7-point underestimate in inflation could save the Central Bank of Argentina US$3 billion in inflation-indexed interest payments, while higher economic growth would cost added interest on bonds tied to GDP; hence, there is a short-run financial benefit to the government from a discrepancy between the two inflation readings in the table.[12]

References

External links

Coordinates: 34°36′36″S 58°22′30″W / 34.61°S 58.375°W / -34.61; -58.375


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