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Feeding the national accounts

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  • Joseph A. Ritter

Abstract

Modern market economies are probably the most complex institutions ever devised by human beings. In the United States, by far the most complex of these tracking systems is the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA). This article's objective is to survey the main data sources currently used in the NIPA. It is not primarily an article about methodology, but focuses instead on the raw inputs to the process: Who is answering what kinds of questions? Closer acquaintance with the data sources behind the accounts highlights the considerable uncertainty about exact magnitudes of various aggregate quantities (and their growth rates) and the need for ongoing evaluation of the data-collection efforts that support the accounts.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph A. Ritter, 1999. "Feeding the national accounts," Working Papers 1999-011, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1999-011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Haltiwanger, 1997. "Measuring and analyzing aggregate fluctuations: the importance of building from microeconomic evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 55-78.
    2. Christina D. Romer, 1999. "Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
    2. Pierre Siklos, 2006. "What Can We Learn from Comprehensive Data Revisions for Forecasting Inflation: Some US Evidence," Working Papers eg0049, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 2006.
    3. Katharine G. Abraham, 2005. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government—What We Don't Know Could Hurt Us: Some Reflections on the Measurement of Economic Activity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 3-18, Summer.
    4. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 2000. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists: does data vintage matter for forecasting?," Working Papers 00-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

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    Keywords

    Gross domestic product;

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