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Government without Statistics: Policy-making in Hong Kong 1925-85, with special reference to Economic and Financial Management

  • Political Science


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 Using unpublished material from the Hong Kong Public Records Office, this paper reviews statistical issues of major importance in Hong Kong¡¦s transition to an industrial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.

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