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Wrong Data on the Korea Statistical Information System

Posted June. 26, 2008 03:06,   


A considerable volume of nationally approved statistical data on the Korea Statistical Information System, an on-line statistical database system run by the National Statistical Office, turned out to be incorrect. The false data includes statistics on Korea’s national debt and gross domestic product.

The national statistics agency announced yesterday that it had held an event to encourage Internet users to find incorrect information for six months from November 2007 and 18 cases of incorrect information were found. The agency said it has corrected the data.

For example, the Korea Statistical Information System explained that Korea’s debt amounted to 282.783 trillion won in 2006. However, its actual debt stood at 273.214 trillion won. Also, the system cited that the nation’s GDP growth rate reached 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2007, while the actual figure was 1.3 percent.

While correcting the false data, the agency narrowed down some possibilities as to why the statistical errors occurred.

The reasons for the errors can be boiled down to the following: The data culled from other organizations might have had some mistakes; employees of the National Statistical Office might have made mistakes when inputting statistical data culled from external organizations; the agency might have generated the wrong data; and employees of the National Statistical Office might have made some mistakes when uploading statistical data generated within the agency.

A source from the National Statistical Office said, “It seems that some employees were confused between the ‘central government’s debt,’ and ‘Korea’s national debt that includes debt of local governments’ when they uploaded the data received from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. The mistake related with GDP occurred because the agency did not correct the estimation even after the Bank of Korea confirmed Korea’s GDP growth rate for the quarter.”

He added, “Since the Korea Statistical Information System contains a whopping 420 million data included in 50,000 tables, some errors will inevitably appear.”

However, Korea University Information Statistics Professor Choi Jong-hu said, “The errors have been found by the public. Given that, there certainly exist more incorrect data on the Korea Statistical Information System. Since the statistical data approved by the government is used in all sorts of the nation’s policies, even a small error should not be tolerated.”

The national statistics agency runs the Korea Statistical Information System to enable the public to find statistical data created by a variety of national agencies.