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Seeking A Boost: Italy To Include Cocaine Sales In GDP Numbers

Faced with a weak economy and a need to improve Italy's debt ratio, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government will include illegal drug sales and prostitution when it figures the country's gross domestic product.

That's according to a report from Bloomberg News, which says:

"Renzi, 39, is committed to narrowing Italy's deficit to 2.6 percent of GDP this year, a task that's easier if output is boosted by portions of the underground economy that previously went uncounted. Four recessions in the last 13 years left Italy's GDP at 1.56 trillion euros ($2.13 trillion) last year, 2 percent lower than in 2001 after adjusting for inflation."

A government spokesman wouldn't comment on the new plan, Bloomberg says.

Italian newspaper Il Giornale says the new GDP statistics will also include sales from smuggling alcohol and cigarettes. To derive the value of this shadow economy, the government will use estimates that are in line with rules set by Eurostat, the EU agency that issues guidelines on activities that are "economically productive."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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