Terms of Use


The International Comparison Program (ICP)

The ICP is the world's largest global statistical initiative for estimating purchasing power parities (PPPs) to compare economic outputs, standards of living, and relative price levels across economies.

The ICP entails estimating purchasing power parities (PPPs) and related macro-economic aggregates of economies for comparison. The World Bank coordinates global-level ICP, while ADB covers the program’s Asia-Pacific component


The framework for the ICP in Asia and the Pacific is the same as the general approach to the ICP in all regions. The principal objective of the ICP is to provide policy makers, international organizations, economists, researchers, and the wider public with comparable measures of economic activity as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) and its components. The main problem for international comparisons is that data on GDP and its components are published in local currency units by statistical offices of the participating economies, making it difficult to compare across economies. GDP aggregates from economies are also influenced by differences in prices of goods and services that comprise GDP. The common practice on, and an intuitive approach to, international comparisons have been the use of market/official exchange rates to convert GDP data from economies into a common currency unit such as the United States dollar. While the use of exchange rates eliminates the problem of currency units, it fails to adjust for price level differences; this forms the crux of the problem encountered and effectively resolved in the ICP.

The ICP methodology is divided into three major components: expenditures as defined by the system of national accounts; prices of goods and services; and the actual methodology to compute PPPs. Following the framework of the ICP and standard methodologies, Asia and the Pacific implements the regional program and has developed practices and approaches to collect and compile price statistics and compute PPPs, real expenditures, and other ICP-related indicators.