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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 ...

Suggested Citation

  • Nadim Ahmad, 2003. "Measuring Investment in Software," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2003/6, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:stiaaa:2003/6-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Rouchy, Philippe, 2011. "Swedish embedded software and vertically integrated industries: an appraisal," MPRA Paper 50504, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 2005. "What Explains the Canada-US ICT Investment Intensity Gap?," CSLS Research Reports 2005-06, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    3. Geomina Turlea, 2011. "Tracking the Economic Value of Embedded Digital Technology: A Supply-side Methodology," JRC Working Papers JRC64287, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    4. Dirk Pilat, 2005. "Canada's Productivity Performance in International Perspective," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 10, pages 24-44, Spring.

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