Measuring productivity in the public sector: some conceptual problems
In many sectors of the economy, governments either provide various services at no cost or at highly subsidized prices. Examples are the health, education and general government sectors. The paper analyzes three possible general methods to measure the price and quantity of nonmarket government outputs. If quantity information on nonmarket outputs is available, then the first two methods of price valuation rely on either purchaser based valuations or on cost based valuations. If little or no information on the quantity of nonmarket outputs produced is available, then the method recommended in the System of National Accounts 1993 must be used, where aggregate output growth is set equal to aggregate input growth. The paper also discusses various methods of adjusting for quality change.
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