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Measuring Investment in Software

  • Nadim Ahmad

The latest system of national accounts (SNA93) recommended that purchases of software (and any own-account production) should be capitalised as long as the acquisition satisfied conventional asset requirements. This change added about 1% to GDP in most OECD economies in the mid-1990s. However, the range of the revision has been significantly different across countries, leading many observers to question the comparability of these statistics. An OECD task force set up in October 2001 confirmed that differences in estimation procedures contributed significantly to the differences in software capitalisation rates, and a set of recommendations describing a harmonised method for estimating software were formulated. Most of these recommendations were approved at the OECD 2002 National Accounts Expert meeting. This paper reviews the recommendations in its annexes, giving more expansive explanations in some areas, and provides estimates of changes to GDP levels and growth that might be ... La mesure de l'investissement dans les logiciels La plus récente des éditions du Système de comptabilité nationale (SCN 93) a recommandé de considérer les achats de logiciels (et toute production pour compte propre) comme un investissement pour autant que l'acquisition satisfasse aux critères applicables aux actifs traditionnels. Cette modification devait se traduire par une progression d'environ 1 % du PIB dans la plupart des économies de l'OCDE vers le milieu des années 90. Toutefois la portée de cette révision a été sensiblement différente suivant les pays, ce qui a conduit de nombreux observateurs à s'interroger sur la comparabilité de ces statistiques. Un groupe spécial de l'OCDE créé en octobre 2001 a confirmé que des différences dans les procédures d'estimation contribuaient fortement aux écarts dans les taux de capitalisation des logiciels, et une série de recommandations décrivant une méthodologie unifiée pour l'estimation du logiciel a été formulée. La plupart de ces recommandations ont été approuvées lors de la Réunion ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers with number 2003/6.

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Date of creation: 19 May 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:stiaaa:2003/6-en
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