Government without Statistics: Policy-Making in Hong Kong 1925-85, with Special Reference to Economic and Financial Management
HKIMR Working Paper No. 6/2006
28 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2007
Date Written: April 2006
Until the 1970s, Hong Kong's Government collected as few statistics as possible, a policy only partially explained by its commitment to laisser faire. Statistics were seen as threatening its freedom from London's control and its ability to limit political debate locally. Using unpublished material from the Hong Kong Public Records Office, this paper reviews statistical issues of major importance in Hong Kong's transition to an industrial economy and its emergence as a financial centre. It demonstrates how the quality of statistics affected the management of financial markets and banking crises, and identifies the wider costs of the shortage of comprehensive statistics.
Keywords: laisser faire, census, balance of payments, national income, labour, housing, banking, regulation, Hong Kong, China, United Kingdom
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