Uses of National Accounts; History, International Standardization and Applications in the Netherlands
The national accounts is commonly known by its key-aggregates (e.g. GDP and saving) and their role in public debate and decision-making. However, the national accounts plays many different roles for many different uses. This paper provides an overview of the development of these roles and uses since the seventeenth century. Three periods are distinguished: the early estimates (1660-1930), revolutionary decades (1930-1950) and the era of the international guidelines (1950-present). The paper discusses these roles and uses also much more in detail for one country: the Netherlands, a country which played an important role in modern national accounting and where expert data users, like the CPB, SCP and the Dutch central bank, have developed several interesting applications of the national accounts.
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