Italy to Add Cocaine Sales, Prostitution to National GDP

A prostitute on the side of the road in Tuscany, Italy.
A prostitute on the side of the road in Tuscany, Italy.
Hilary Sargent

You might not know this, but Italy’s economy has been in trouble lately. After being hit hard by the global recession, the country has operated in a deficit while watching its gross domestic product fall two percent since 2001.

But now Italian officials have an idea that may help. In order to close the deficit and boost the GDP numbers, Italy will now include prostitution and illegal drug sales when calculating those numbers, Bloomberg News reported.

From the report:

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Drugs, prostitution and smuggling will be part of GDP as of 2014 and prior-year figures will be adjusted to reflect the change in methodology, the Istat national statistics office said today. The revision was made to comply with European Union rules, it said.


"Even if the impact is hard to quantify, it's obvious it will have a positive impact on GDP," said Giuseppe Di Taranto, economist and professor of financial history at Rome?s Luiss University. "Therefore Renzi will have a greater margin this year to spend" without breaching the deficit limit, he said.

So if you’re a fan of cocaine or sex workers (or both!), you can kill two birds with one stone by booking a trip to Italy and helping them out of an economic jam.