Standard National Accounting Concepts, Economic Theory and Data Compilation Issues; on Constancy and Change in the Un-Manuals on National Accounting (1947, 1953, 1968, 1993)
Statistics Netherlands, National Accounts Occasional Paper No. 61
98 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2007 Last revised: 26 Jan 2009
In 1947, for the first time a report on national accounting concepts was published by the UN (the 1947 UN-report). Some years later (in 1951), the first official guidelines were published. Since then, national accounting theory and practice have increasingly been dominated by these guidelines. The period since the Second World War can thus best be labelled as 'the era of the international guidelines'. In this paper, the four successive guidelines of the United Nations on national accounting are discussed in view of economic theory (Keynesian analysis, welfare, Hicksian income, input-output analysis, etc.) and data compilation issues (e.g. the link with concepts in administrative data sources). The new guidelines of the EC should complement those of the UN and be simpler and more cost-efficient. It should define a balanced set of operational concepts and tables that is attainable for most EC countries within 5 years.
Keywords: Guidelines on national accounting, System of National Accounts (SNA), national accounting and economic theory, national accounting and data compilation issues
JEL Classification: B40, C82, E01
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation