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Measuring the UK Economy


  • Freeman, Alan


Prepublication version of ‘Measuring the UK Economy’, in Dorling, D. and Simpson, S. (1999) Statistics and Society, p361-369. London Arnold. ISBN 0 340 71994 X. This article demonstrates that the System of National Accounts (SNA) implicitly specify a conception of value. They divide all productive activities into those which create value (paid labour and capital, the factors of production) and those which merely transmit pre-existing value such as the state, or which are not treated as creative of value at all, such as unpaid labour. The measures of output derived from the System of National Accounts are consequently not factually neutral or objective but arise from a specific conception of value. As Anwar Shaikh and Ertugrul Tonak have shown, a different concept of value – such as the idea that labour only is productive of value leads to a different set of measures of output arise, both for the economy as a whole and for each sector. The article shows how to transform the national accounts of the UK from their present form to one in which only labour is considered productive of value.

Suggested Citation

  • Freeman, Alan, 1999. "Measuring the UK Economy," MPRA Paper 6894, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6894

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Freeman, Alan, 1991. "National Accounts in Value Terms: The Social Wage and Profit Rate in Britain 1950-1986," MPRA Paper 52760, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Feb 1991.
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    1. Freeman, Alan, 1999. "Measuring the UK Economy (Conference Paper)," MPRA Paper 52815, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Oct 1999.

    More about this item


    unproductive labour; national accounts; indicators; value; price; NIPA;

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies


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