Talking About the National Accounts: Statistics and the Democratic Conversation
Posted: 24 Aug 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2015
Official statistics, particularly GDP and its growth rate, are an important means for citizens to hold their governments to account. However, this democratic conversation (and even economic research) rarely acknowledge the large degree of uncertainty and revision of the statistics. Moreover, the national accounts are of decreasing relevance to economies that are ever more intangible, complex and involve cross-border production chains. Nor do the existing statistics measure sustainability or the aspects of consumer welfare that are increasingly important to citizens (including 'free' digital innovations). All of these issues point to major challenges in the conceptualisation and measurement of the economy.
Keywords: GDP, national accounts, statistics, innovation, political economy
JEL Classification: C40, O30, D60
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