Fake news: a further investigation of the validity of data and methods used to compare industry performance between countries

Rick Best

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


In June 2012 the Business Council of Australia (BCA) claimed that it cost considerably more to build a variety of types of infrastructure in Australia than in the USA. A preliminary investigation of the methods used to arrive at this conclusion showed that the results could be reversed by using a different method and/or different published cost data from other sources. The analysis presented here repeats that investigation using data from more sources and from two years (2014 and 2017) following the release of that report. The results show that not only is it necessary for people who make such comparisons to have a much better understanding of the underlying theory of international cost and price comparisons, specifically of the role of purchasing power parity, but also that greater care is needed in relation to the data used. It is possible that the 2012 BCA report was driven by vested interests for whom showing the Australian industry in a poor light was advantageous, and it was concerning that data published by a leading international construction consultancy may have been improperly used to produce a desired result rather than an evidence-based result. The author argues for more rigour in these comparisons and for wider recognition of the need for more education in purchasing power parity and cost comparisons in the built environment disciplines
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationARCOM Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference 2018
Subtitle of host publicationWorking Papers
PublisherAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
EventARCOM 2018 - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sept 20185 Sept 2018
Conference number: 34th


ConferenceARCOM 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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