Estimating the scale of unofficial activity is difficult, but (since even underground firms require power) one technique to measure the whole economy’s output is to use electricity consumption. […] Although official GDP fell 29 percent during this period, electricity consumption fell only about 19 percent, suggesting that Russia’s decline in output was not as sharp as indicated by the official statistics. Since firms are likely to use electricity more sparingly under market conditions, the decline in electricity consumption probably still overstates the real drop in output.There’s an obvious monkey wrench to this argument, namely the fact that household electricity consumption went up considerably during the same period (as the essay notes on the very next page). But ignore that. I just think ‘proof by electricity’ is a pretty clever argument. That’s all.