Arunabh Ghosh's Making It Count offers the first extended historical study of Chinese statistics during the early years of the People's Republic of China (PRC), from its founding in 1949 to the end of the Great Leap Forward (1958–62) and its disastrous famine. Taking full advantage of the opening of Chinese archival sources during the last two decades, Ghosh uses administrative records, letters, newspapers, internal reports, and journals (supplemented by several oral histories) to reconstruct a rich and revealing history of both PRC statistical agencies and the theoretical and methodological debates of Chinese statisticians. Whereas previous accounts have implicitly been driven by the questions of economic or social history—What data can we gather about the early history of the PRC, and how accurate is that information?—Ghosh pursues a different quarry: What were the goals, assumptions, and constraints that shaped PRC statistics? What did PRC statisticians hope to accomplish, and what...

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