Dueling unemployment reports in Iran

Reuters

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, Iraq, July 19, 2013.

Article Highlights

  • The arbitrariness of government statistics in Iran should raise questions about other gov't statistics, such as election participation rates.

    Tweet This

  • That such basic economic indicators as unemployment can be the subject of such discrepancy places question marks over nearly all Iranian statistics.

    Tweet This

  • Iran tolerates little media dissent, yet subtle criticism exists.

    Tweet This

The Islamic Republic of Iran tolerates little media dissent, leading Reporters Without Borders to rank Iran 174th out of 179 countries in press freedom. Yet, subtle criticism exists, especially among Iran’s financial reporters, who often highlight statistic anomalies in order to question the legitimacy of the government’s management. In the selection excerpted, the privately owned but semi-official Mehr News Agency highlights how two separate government agencies have compiled radically different unemployment statistics, which, together, show a margin of error of at least 20 percent. Mehr’s reporting appears specifically directed at mismanagement by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often played skittles with statistics in order to claim economic progress; this could portend a re-examination of his management, presaging criminal investigation.

That such basic economic indicators as unemployment can be the subject of such discrepancy places question marks over nearly all Iranian statistics, whether because the government does not have the ability to gather and compile such statistics with precision, or because the regime fakes data for political reasons. While ordinary Iranians do not need government statistics to understand trends in inflation and foreign exchange rates, the arbitrariness of government statistics should raise questions about government statistics in other fields, such as election participation rates, which regime officials often cite in order to prove popular legitimacy to the outside world.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Rubin

What's new on AEI

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Event Registration is Closed
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.