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Distributional Measures Across Household Groups in a National Accounts Framework: Results from an Experimental Cross-country Exercise on Household Income, Consumption and Saving


  • Maryse Fesseau


  • Maria Liviana Mattonetti



Valuable information exists already on household economic resources. The national accounts provide aggregate measures and micro sources (surveys, administrative records, and censuses) can be used to derive measures of the distribution across households groups. Over the years, however, macro and micro statisticians have tended to work separately leading to sometimes divergent results which can cause problem to users. In 2011, the OECD and Eurostat launched a joint Expert Group to carry out a study on the feasibility of compiling measures of the distribution of income, consumption and wealth across household groups that are consistent with national accounts definitions and totals. As part of the Expert Group, national experts from 16 countries performed experimental calculations using all the detailed micro and macro information available at the national level and following the same framework and methodology. The experimental results obtained are presented in this paper. They show disparities in household income and consumption, including Social Transfers in Kind, and in household saving for different groups of households: by income quintile; by main source of income; and by household type. The main methodological issues related to this exercise are described. The paper also illustrates the number of assumptions that are required to produce estimates on distribution across households consistent with national accounts definitions and totals. Les données macro-économiques des comptes nationaux fournissent des données agrégées sur le revenu, la consommation et l’épargne de l’ensemble des ménages. Les sources microéconomiques (enquêtes, données administratives et recensement) informent sur la manière dont le revenu et la consommation sont réparties entre les ménages. Au fil des années cependant, les statisticiens micro et macro ont eu tendance à travailler séparément conduisant parfois à des résultats divergents et rendant le travail d’analyse compliqué pour les utilisateurs. En 2011, l’OCDE et Eurostat ont lancé un groupe de travail conjoint afin d’étudier la possibilité de produire des indicateurs sur la distribution des ressources économiques des ménages qui soient cohérents avec les totaux et les définitions des comptes nationaux. Dans le cadre de ce groupe de travail, des experts nationaux de 16 pays ont produit des estimations combinant les informations micro et macro disponibles au niveau national et en suivant une méthode harmonisée. Les résultats, encore expérimentaux, sont présentés dans ce papier. Ils portent sur les inégalités de revenu, de consommation, incluant les transferts sociaux en nature, et d’épargne pour différents groupes de ménages selon le quintile de revenu, la principale source de revenu ou le type de ménage. Les principales difficultés méthodologiques rencontrées dans ce type d’exercice sont présentées. Le papier détaille également les hypothèses nécessaires pour produire des indicateurs de distribution cohérents avec les totaux et définitions des comptes nationaux.

Suggested Citation

  • Maryse Fesseau & Maria Liviana Mattonetti, 2013. "Distributional Measures Across Household Groups in a National Accounts Framework: Results from an Experimental Cross-country Exercise on Household Income, Consumption and Saving," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2013/4, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:stdaaa:2013/4-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," NBER Working Papers 22945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Brian Nolan & Max Roser & Stefan Thewissen, 2016. "GDP Per Capita Versus Median Household Income: What Gives Rise to Divergence Over Time?," LIS Working papers 672, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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    consumption; household; income; national accounts; saving; surveys;

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