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National Footprint Accounts use internationally available data from multiple datasets for all countries for each year going back to 1961. In some cases data may be limited, unavailable, or may contain apparent errors. While the accounts include some data error improvement and estimation of missing data, results for countries and/or years are inevitably of variable reliability. As part of the completion of an Edition, researchers assess a level of confidence in the final results for each country, as follows:

Criteria for qualifying NFA results and the implications of the data quality scores for publication of results

ScoreCriteria and Implications
6No component of BC or EF is unreliable or unlikely for any year.
5No component of BC or EF is unreliable or unlikely for the latest data year.

Some individual components of the EF or BC are unlikely, but not in the latest data year.

The total EF and BC time series results are not significantly affected by unlikely data.

4No component of BC or EF is unreliable or unlikely for the years prior to the latest data year.

Some individual components of the EF or BC are unreliable or unlikely, including the latest data year.

Total EF and BC values are unlikely or unreliable in the most recent data year.

3BEF or BC component time series have results that are very unreliable or very unlikely, except in the latest data year.

The total EF and BC time series results are not significantly affected by unlikely data.

3TEF or BC component time series have results that are very unreliable or very unlikely, including the latest year.

The total EF and BC time series results are not significantly affected by unlikely data.

3LTotal EF or BC time series and component EF and BC time series results are very unreliable or very unlikely, but not in the latest year.
2Several components of the EF or BC are unreliable or very unlikely, including the latest year.

The latest year’s EF and BC component results are significantly affected by unlikely data.

The total EF and BC results for the latest year are not significantly affected by unlikely data.

1Individual components of EF or BC have multiple results that are very unreliable or very unlikely, including the latest year.

The total EF and BC results—including those of the latest year—are significantly impacted by the unlikely or unreliable values, making them unusable.

The unlikely or unreliable values have most likely not impacted the creditor/debtor status.

0Some or all individual components of the EF or BC have many results that are very unreliable or very unlikely, including the latest year.

The total EF and BC results—including those of the latest year—are significantly impacted by the unlikely or unreliable values, making them unusable.

Note: Through further nation-specific research, preferably in collaboration with researchers from those countries, particularly from government agencies, it is possible to improve the Data Score (i.e., the quality of the results). Improved data sets, methodological improvements in the National Footprint Accounts, and better data cleaning processes have also helped to increase the Data Scores of some country results in past editions, and is likely in the future.