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International Comparison Program

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The ICP is a complex international statistical exercise, and its methodology has evolved over several decades.

The 2011 cycle of the ICP introduced several major methodological innovations, including a new approach for combining regional results into a global set of results, a simplified approach for comparing the construction and civil engineering component of GDP, a wider application of productivity adjustment to government labor, and the implementation of enhanced data quality assurance and computation procedures. The 2017 cycle maintained the same methods and procedures applied in the 2011 cycle, further strengthened data quality assurance approaches using the latest technology, and introduced a fully documented and more transparent process for producing results.

A key objective of the ICP 2017 cycle was to avoid methodological changes in order to maintain the comparability of the ICP results over time. However, to guide the future of the ICP, a research agenda was developed focusing on (i) building consistent annual purchasing power parity (PPP) series; (ii) improving PPP reliability and quality; (iii) addressing difficult to measure areas, such as housing; (iv) strengthening alignment between PPPs and national statistical programs; (v) advocating wider uses and applications of PPPs; and (vi) exploring innovations in technology and new sources.

The ICP Research Agenda continues to ensure the soundness of the Program’s processes and methods. Additionally, the research items are reviewed in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ICP methodology and results, including the use of new data sources for PPP measurement, and PPPs for imports and exports.

Progress on the ICP Research Agenda over recent years has helped to guide and strengthen the ICP methodology and advanced its use of innovative developments and new technologies. Task Forces and task teams on specific topics of the research agenda, established at the behest of the Technical Advisory Group, continue to meet as needed, in person or online, to discuss their findings and make recommendations.

Technical Advisory Group

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    The Technical Advisory Group is a technical body, which assures methodological soundness and overall quality of the PPP estimates and oversees ICP research activities.
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    The TAG meets periodically, and the agenda, minutes, presentations, and documents for each meeting are available.