Improving the SNA Treatment of Multinational Enterprises

34 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2017

Date Written: December 2017


Core measures in the System of National Accounts (SNA) may reflect distortions based on the treatment of multinational enterprises (MNEs) under the residence concept, which is effectively a legal concept rather than an economic concept for special purpose entities that lack production. This paper suggests an improvement to the SNA treatment of MNEs by proposing an SNA framework that offers a dual presentation of measures on operating entities and measures on special purpose entities. A dual presentation adds information to better understand the role of MNEs and special purpose entities in national accounts. Nevertheless, the proposal also yields a meaningful departure from current SNA recommendations and current practice by statistical compilers, which requires careful consideration of practical matters before implementation is feasible.

Keywords: FDI, globalization, multinational firms, national income and product accounts

JEL Classification: E01, F23, F60

Suggested Citation

Rassier, Dylan G., Improving the SNA Treatment of Multinational Enterprises (December 2017). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 63, pp. S287-S320, 2017. Available at SSRN: or

Dylan G. Rassier (Contact Author)

Bureau of Economic Analysis ( email )

1441 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20910
United States

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