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What is Measured in National Accounts?

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Abstract

Most statistical agencies construct sectoral real GDP using double deflation and base period prices. When the base period price used for intermediate inputs is not equal to their marginal revenue product, such as when firms apply a markup, real GDP fluctuations become mechanically linked to variations in intermediate inputs. This is because these inputs generate profits that are incorporated into real value added. Taking this channel into account, we demonstrate that real GDP reported in national accounts substantially diverges from a theory-consistent "physical" value added. This, in turn, has implications for the measurement of productivity. Between 1999 and 2021, "physical" productivity cumulative growth in the Finance sector was 15pp lower compared to the Solow Residual, while it was 15pp higher in the Manufacturing sector.

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  • Francois de Soyres & Alexandre Gaillard & Henry L. Young, 2023. "What is Measured in National Accounts?," International Finance Discussion Papers 1375, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1375
    DOI: 10.17016/IFDP.2023.1375
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Measurement; National Accounts; Markups; Productivity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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