About the International Comparison Program (ICP)
The International Comparison Program (ICP) is one of the largest, and most enduring, statistical initiatives in the world. It is managed by the World Bank under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), and relies on a partnership of international, regional, sub-regional, and national agencies working under a robust governance framework and following an established statistical methodology. At its forty-seventh session, in March 2016, the UNSC instituted the ICP as a permanent element of the global statistical programme.
The main objectives of the ICP are:
(i) to produce purchasing power parities (PPPs) and comparable price level indexes (PLIs) for participating economies; and
(ii) to convert volume and per capita measures of gross domestic product (GDP) and its expenditure components into a common currency using PPPs.
PPPs convert different currencies to a common currency and, in the process of conversion, equalize their purchasing power by controlling for differences in price levels between economies. They provide a measure of what an economy’s local currency can buy in another economy. PPP-based comparisons of economic output differ from market exchange rate-based comparisons as the latter do not distinguish between the relative price levels of different items in economies. PPP-based comparisons are also less impacted by the potential volatility of market exchange rates.
PPPs are calculated by the ICP based on the prices of items within a common basket of goods and services and expenditure shares, used as expenditure weights, on groups of items in each of the participating economies. These data are benchmarked to a reference year for each comparison cycle. The most recent ICP results are available for the ICP 2017 cycle, with the ongoing cycle benchmarked to 2021.