Prices and purchasing power parities (PPP)

New international comparisons of GDP and consumption based on purchasing power parities for the year 2011



18/12/2013 - The OECD, in partnership with Eurostat, has calculated new benchmark purchasing power parities (PPPs) for GDP and final consumption for the year 2011 for 47 countries following a common methodology (see Box, page 6). These benchmark PPPs will be included in the world-wide comparison undertaken by the World Bank for the International Comparison Programme .

Detailed 2011 PPP benchmark results are available at They include PPPs, price level indices and associated estimates of real expenditures on GDP for some 50 categories of goods and services.



Download the entire note including graphs and tables (PDF 140KB)


PPPs are the adequate tool for many cross-country comparisons of economic data

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and income levels across countries are often compared by converting national data into a common currency using exchange rates. However, exchange rates are not able to reflect the relative international prices of all the goods and services that are included in GDP. Indeed, while exchange rates reflect relative prices in goods and services that are traded internationally, they do not reflect relative prices of a number of products, particularly many services, for which international markets do not exist. In addition, exchange rates are also affected by many other factors such as interest rates and capital flows which can often induce volatility that is unrelated to price developments across countries.

PPPs, on the other hand, are currency conversion rates that correct for the differences in price levels across a broader basket of goods and services that better reflects the goods and services that are included in GDP. The Eurostat-OECD PPP programme covers a basket of around 3000 goods and services, reflecting all categories of final demand (including consumer goods and services, government services, investment goods as well as net exports). When applied to nominal values of GDP or final consumption, PPPs enable comparisons in real terms (volumes) of these aggregates.


PPPs provide a clearer picture of the relative size of economies

PPP-based GDP data provide a clearer picture of the relative importance of economies than comparisons based on market exchange rates. On the basis of the 2011 results, the ten largest economies in the OECD and Europe, measured on a PPP basis, are the United States, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Korea and Canada. Comparisons between exchange-rate and PPP based GDP data reveal the importance of PPP-based conversions (Figure 1). For instance, using PPPs, Mexico turns out to be a larger economy than Canada.  

Figure 1. Gross domestic product at current PPPs and current exchanges rates
Largest economies in the OECD area, percentage of OECD total, 2011

           Using PPPs          

Using exchange rates





For further information, journalists are invited to contact the OECD's Media Relations Division on (33) 1 45 24 97 00 or;  others should contact the Statistics Directorate on




Related Documents