IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

National accounts, wellbeing, and the performance of government


  • Joe Grice


This article discusses the evolving ways in which the national accounts are, or could be, used to inform and assist in key areas of concern to governments and their citizens. It begins with a discussion of 'traditional' national accounts and the familiar uses that are made of them to gauge the level of economic activity and material wellbeing. It goes on to discuss how the disciplined and integrated stock/flow presentation of national accounts could be more fully exploited to assess such questions as the adequacy and sustainability of national and public investment and to inform better macroeconomic and macro-prudential polices. It describes extended usage of the national accounts to assess government's own direct contribution to the generation of value, in the form of public services. In the same vein, distributionally adjusted national accounts could be used to provide evidence not just about the material prosperity of a society in aggregate but about trends in material wellbeing across the income distribution. There is clearly no reason why these trends should all be the same. Finally, it goes on to discuss the currently topical (deservedly) measurement of national wellbeing. This raises a number of new issues, many of which are warmly debated and not, at present, fully resolved. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Joe Grice, 2011. "National accounts, wellbeing, and the performance of government," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(4), pages 620-633.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:27:y:2011:i:4:p:620-633

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Manfred Lenzen & Robert A. Cummins, 2013. "Happiness versus the Environment—A Case Study of Australian Lifestyles," Challenges, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, May.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:27:y:2011:i:4:p:620-633. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.