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Double-Counting of Investment

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  • Robert J. Barro

Abstract

The national-income accounts double-count investment, which enters once when it occurs and again in present value as rental income on added capital. The double-counting implies over-statement of levels of GDP and national income. Across countries, those with higher propensities to invest artificially look richer gauged by per capita GDP. There is also exaggeration of capital-income shares. An alternative measure involves a form of full expensing of gross investment. In the steady state, revised product and income correspond to consumption. Outside of the steady state, the measure deviates from consumption because full expensing applies to the long-run flow of gross investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Barro, 2019. "Double-Counting of Investment," NBER Working Papers 25826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25826
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    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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