Italy to Shrink Deficit Using Hookers, Cocaine
Illegal activities to be added to GDP
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2014 2:08 AM CDT
Updated May 23, 2014 3:52 AM CDT
"Even if the impact is hard to quantify, it's obvious it will have a positive impact on GDP," an Italian economist says.    (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

(Newser) – Surprisingly enough, this idea didn't come from Silvio Berlusconi: Italy plans to include things like illegal drug sales, prostitution, and cigarette smuggling in its GDP figures for the first time, immediately giving the size of the economy a big boost, Bloomberg reports. Prime Minister Mario Renzi has pledged to cut the country's deficit to 2.6% of GDP, a target that will be a lot easier to hit when illegal sectors of the economy are included.

The European Union's statistical agency has provided guidelines for estimating the contribution of illegal activities to the economy, and the move is expected to add up to 2% to Italy's GDP, ANSA reports. (As for Berlusconi, he's doing community service at a hospice after being convicted of tax fraud.)