Compiling the national accounts demystified
AbstractThis paper unveils the mystery of national accounts statistics. National accounts statistics are not facts. They are estimates of a universal accounting model (SNA93) for describing, analyzing and managing national economies. The operational versions of the universal model decide what is actually estimated. They are estimated by expanding and transforming the available data with accounting identities, tested and untested assumptions and previous estimates. The estimates reflect skills, resources and compilation policy. The resulting differences in the reliability of the national accounts statistics are to a great extent the price to be paid for a miracle come true: all over the world, very incomplete, imperfect, heterogeneous and partly outdated data are to be transformed into complete, consistent, internationally standardized and up-to-date overviews of the national economies and their major components. Nevertheless, compiling the national accounts can be improved in various ways, but this requires an international long-term strategy.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 3736.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
National accounts; data compilation; reliability of national accounts statistics; measurement in economics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
- C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2007-06-30 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2007-06-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-MAC-2007-06-30 (Macroeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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- Bos, Frits, 2009. "The National Accounts as a Tool for Analysis and Policy; History, Economic Theory and Data Compilation Issues," MPRA Paper 23582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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