India's GDP Revised Upward

April 30, 2014 9:30 AM

If politicians cannot give India a boost, sometimes statisticians can.

Today, the World Bank released its estimates for purchasing power parity (PPP)-based GDP for the year 2011 for countries around the world based on the elaborate survey of prices that the International Comparison of Prices (ICP) project conducts every five to six years.1 India's GDP and GDP per capita have been revised upwards by about 28 percent (see table). The comparison is with the latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its April World Economic Outlook (WEO). For 2011, India's GDP is now estimated at $5,758 billion and per capita GDP at $4,735.

In terms of size, India in 2011 was comfortably the world's third largest economy (it surpassed Japan not recently as we believed but several years ago), behind the US and China. India's per capita GDP is now estimated at about 10 percent, 14 percent, and 47 percent, respectively of that of the United States, Japan, and China. The revisions to the Indian estimates were large relative to the United States and Japan but less so relative to China because China's GDP numbers were themselves revised upwards by about 20 percent.

  India: GDP and GDP per capita estimates for 2011 
(purchasing power parity dollars)
(billions of US dollars)

per capita

(US dollars)
GDP as
percent of: 
GDP per capita as percent of:  
Japan USA China Japan USA China  
  Latest ICP 1 5,758 4,735 131 37 43 14 10 47  
  IMF 2 4,490 3,708 102 29 40 11 7 45  
  Upward revision (percent) 28% 28% 29% 28% 6% 29% 28% 5%  
  1. Estimates of International Comparison Project (ICP) released April 30, 2014.  
  2. World Economic Outlook, April 2014.  

Indian ground realities have not changed, but our measurement of them has. 


1. China was part of the new survey. The computation of the purchasing power parities in 2011 followed a slightly, not radically, different methodology than in 2005. The ICP exercise does not change the "conventional" GDP numbers calculated on the basis of market exchange rates.

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Arvind Subramanian Senior Research Staff

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