National Accounts at a Glance

2220-0444 (online)
2220-0436 (print)
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National Accounts data is more than just GDP.  This book, published annually, and its related database present national accounts in a way that reflects the richness inherent in the data and the value that represents for analysts and policymakers.  It responds to the Stiglitz Commission’s recommendation that policymakers look beyond GDP to get a fuller picture of the entire economy.

In particular it uses national accounts data to show important findings about households and governments, including important new series on gross adjusted household income and non-financial fixed assets of households. It presents each of the series on a two-page spread, with the page on the left providing information on the meaning, usage, and comparability of the data and the page on the right presenting data from 1995 onwards for the OECD countries as well as graphics highlighting differences among countries.

This book includes OECD’s unique StatLink service, which enables readers to download Excel®  versions of tables and graphs. Look for the StatLink at the foot of each table and graph.

Also available in French
National Accounts at a Glance 2014

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11 Apr 2014
9789264206861 (HTML) ; 9789264206854 (PDF) ;9789264206823(print)

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National Accounts at a Glance presents information using an "indicator" approach, focusing on cross-country comparisons. The aim being to make the national accounts more accessible and informative, whilst, at the same time, taking the opportunity to present the conceptual underpinning of, and comparability issues inherent in, each of the indicators presented.

The range of indicators reflects the richness inherent in the national accounts dataset and encourages users to refocus some of the spotlight that is often placed on gross domestic product (GDP) to other economic important indicators, which may better respond to their needs. The publication is broken down into eight key chapters, and provides indicators related to GDP, income, disposable income, expenditure, production, household, government, corporations and capital respectively.

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  • Foreword

    This publication presents information using an indicator approach, focusing on cross-country comparisons; the aim being to make the accounts more accessible and informative, whilst, at the same time, taking the opportunity to present the conceptual underpinning of, and comparability issues inherent in, each of the indicators presented.

  • Executive summary

    What was the value of the goods and services produced within OECD countries? How much income was earned by residents of a country? How much income was received by households? Answers to these questions and more can be found in this edition of National Accounts at a Glance. This publication presents the wealth of information that is available within the integrated accounting framework of the System of National Accounts (SNA). National accounts have a key role in understanding the workings of the economy by providing information on the economic interactions taking place between different sectors of the economy (households, corporations, government, non-profit institutions, and the rest of the world) allowing for macroeconomic analysis and decision taking.

  • Reader's guide

    Each indicator is preceded by a short text that opens with an explanation in general terms of what is measured and why. This is followed by a more detailed description of the underlying concept (Definition) consistent with the 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA). The final paragraph (Comparability) highlights those areas where some caution may be needed when comparing performance across countries or over time. Some issues relating to comparability, or the care that should be taken when making comparisons, cut across a number of subject areas. Rather than refer to these each time they arise these generic cases are described below.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Gross domestic product (GDP)

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    • Size of GDP

      In 2012, GDP for the OECD as a whole was USD 46 168 billion. The largest six economies in the OECD (as measured using purchasing power parities) were the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

    • GDP growth

      In 2012, GDP growth in the OECD area was 1.5%, a slowdown from 2.0% growth in 2011. The overall increase in GDP growth for the OECD as a whole masks the fact that 12 out of the 34 OECD countries experienced negative growth in 2012. GDP contracted most significantly in Greece (6.4%), its fifth consecutive yearly decline. On the other hand, Chile (5.6%) and Estonia (3.9%) showed the highest growth rates.

    • GDP per capita

      GDP per capita for the OECD as a whole was USD 37 010 in 2012. Four countries recorded GDP per capita in excess of USD 50 000 in 2012 – Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Income

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    • National income

      In 2012, ranking countries by net national income per capita the five highest countries were Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United States, and Sweden.

    • Real measures of income

      In OECD countries 14 out of the 33 experienced a contraction in real net national income in 2012. Real net national income contracted most significantly in Greece (6.7%). On the other hand, Chile (5.0%) and Norway (4.9%) showed the highest growth rates.

    • Saving rate

      In 2012, five countries showed a negative savings rate: Greece, Iceland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Italy. On the other hand, five countries recorded a savings rate of more than 10%: Norway, Korea, Sweden, Estonia, and the Netherlands.

    • Net lending/net borrowing

      In 2011, the balance of the general government sector was negative (net borrowing) in 24 out of 32 countries. Ireland and the United States recorded net borrowing above 10% of GDP. In contrast, Norway was a net lender (positive) at 13.6% of GDP.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Expenditure

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    • Household consumption

      In 2012, the largest differences between actual individual consumption and final consumption of households were seen in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Iceland and France (over 16 percentage points). In contrast, Turkey, Mexico and the United States had the lowest differences (less than 6 points) between the two measures.

    • General government final consumption

      Between 2005 and 2012, 25 out of 29 governments increased their individual consumption share relative to GDP. The Netherlands showed the largest increase in their share: from 13.4% of GDP in 2005 to 17.5% of GDP in 2012. In contrast, Portugal and Hungary showed the largest decrease in government’s individual consumption share relative to GDP.

    • Investment

      In 2012, gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) in the OECD area was 1.6%, a slowdown from 3.3% growth in 2011. Chile (12.3%) and Estonia (10.9%) showed the highest growth rates. In contrast, Greece (-19.2%) and Portugal (-14.3%) experienced the highest negative growth.

    • Exports and imports of goods and services

      In 2012, Turkey recorded the largest annual increase in exports of goods and services (16.7%), followed by the Slovak Republic, Australia, and Estonia (between 10 and 5%). In contrast, a fall in exports was observed in Greece, Luxembourg, Finland, and Japan.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Production

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    • Value added

      The average annual growth rate of value added between 2006 and 2012 was highest in Poland, Israel and Chile. Between 1999 and 2005, average annual growth rate was highest in Estonia, Korea, and Turkey.

    • Compensation of employees

      In 2011, five countries recorded shares of compensation of employees relative to value added above 60%: Denmark (64.7%), Switzerland (63.8%), Sweden and the United Kingdom (60.3%) and Iceland (60.2%).

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Household

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    • Disposable income

      In 2012, many households (in 12 out of 22 countries), particularly in the euro area, saw declines in their real net adjusted disposable income. Income fell by -1.4% in the euro area (double the drop in GDP). The largest decline occurred in Greece (‑10.2%). In contrast, four countries recorded an increase in real household net adjusted disposable income above 2%: Norway (3.0%), Luxembourg (2.7%), Sweden (2.4%), and the United States (2.1%).

    • Household final expenditure on housing

      Between 2001 and 2011, housing consumption as a share of adjusted disposable income decreased in Estonia, Korea, Sweden and Norway. All the other countries showed an increase. The largest increases in the shares in the period 2001‑11 occurred in the United Kingdom, Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy.

    • Household saving rate

      Household saving rates differ significantly across countries. In 2011, largest saving rates of above 10% were recorded in Luxembourg, Switzerland, France, Germany and Sweden. Saving rates were slightly negative for Denmark and Poland (‑0.2%), whereas Greece reported a negative saving rate of ‑12.5% in 2011.

    • Household financial transactions

      In 2011, five OECD countries recorded financial saving ratios above 8%: the United States (11.7%), Ireland (11.0%), Belgium (9.5%), Germany (8.3%) and Korea (8.1%). In contrast, there was financial dissaving in four countries: Hungary (-7.7%), Denmark (-2.4%), Norway (-1.5%) and Finland (-1.1%).

    • Non-financial assets of households

      In 2010, among the countries for which data are available, Denmark recorded the highest value of dwellings owned by households per capita at USD 60 645 (the United Kingdom includes lands with dwellings); followed by France (USD 58 801) and Germany (USD 55 046). The lowest values of dwellings per capita were in Poland, at USD 5 627.

    • Composition of household portfolio

      In 2011, the three OECD countries with the largest household holdings of financial assets per capita were the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In all three countries, net equity in pension fund assets accounted for a substantial part of the portfolio.

    • Household debt

      In 2011, households remained highly indebted in a large number of OECD countries four years after the start of the global financial crisis, with an OECD average established at 135% of their net disposable income. The ratio was far higher than this average in Denmark (331%), the Netherlands (302%), Ireland (234%), Norway (209%) and Switzerland (201%). In contrast, the Slovak Republic had the lowest debt ratio at 49.4% in 2011.

    • Financial net worth of households

      In 2011, the financial net worth per capita of 15 countries were above the OECD average of USD 44 600 (for 31 OECD countries for which data are available). The United States and Switzerland recorded the highest financial net worth per capita, with figures above USD 110 000, more than double the OECD average. Estonia had the lowest financial net worth per capita at USD 8 042.

    • Total net worth of households

      Comparisons between 2006 and 2011 show that household net worth as a percentage of disposable income fell in 13 out of 17 OECD countries for which data are available. The United States showed a considerable decrease of -123 percentage points, the largest decrease of the 17 countries. Among the countries recording increases in household net worth (the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the Netherlands), the largest increase was in Germany (34 percentage points).

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts General government

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    • Total expenditure

      In 2012, the largest expenditure component of general government was social benefits and social transfers in kind in all of the OECD countries where data were available, with the exception of Iceland.

    • General government expenditure by function

      In 2011, general government’s spending on social protection received the largest share as a percentage of GDP.

    • Taxes

      In 2011, total tax receipts as a share of GDP were highest in Denmark (46.7%) followed by Sweden (37.1%). On the other hand, both countries had relatively low shares of social contributions, at 1.9% and 7.7%, respectively. The lowest share of total tax receipts to GDP were in the Slovak Republic (16.0%) and Japan (16.9%).

    • Social contributions

      In looking at the decade between 2001 and 2011, large decreases in the share of social contributions to government as a share of GDP occurred in Sweden (5 percentage points) followed by Poland (2 percentage points) and the Slovak Republic and Germany (1.8 and 1.6 percentage points respectively). The latest years 2011-12 showed a relative stability in social contributions.

    • Social benefits

      In 2011, four countries showed shares of social benefits other than transfers in kind as a percentage of GDP above 19%: France, Italy, Greece, and Austria. On the other hand, Mexico and Korea recorded the lowest shares at 2.1% and 3.9%, respectively.

    • Net saving and net lending/net borrowing

      In 2011, 23 out of 32 countries recorded dissaving as well as a net borrowing position.

    • Gross debt of general government

      In 2011, 23 out of 30 OECD countries recorded debt-to-GDP ratios below 100% compared to 28 out of 31 countries in 2006. In 2011, Japan recorded the highest debt-to-GDP ratio (228%), followed by Italy (124%) and the United States (121%).

    • Financial net worth

      In 2011, 24 out of 31 OECD countries for which data are available recorded a negative financial net worth, i.e. debt being higher than financial assets. This reflects the effects of the global financial crisis on government deficit and debt.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Corporations

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    • Non-financial corporations' debt to gross operating surplus

      In 2011, the non-financial corporations sector of Luxembourg recorded the highest debt-to-gross operating surplus ratio where the level of debt outstanding reached 18.4 times gross operating surplus. Other countries with high ratios were Portugal (8.6), Ireland (7.8) and Sweden (7.6).

    • Debt to equity ratio in financial corporations

      After a sharp peak in the debt-to-equity ratio of financial corporations in 2008 in most OECD countries, a significant fall of -1.6 point on average was recorded in 2009, followed by another decline in 2010 although to a much lesser extent, indicating a decrease in the risk exposure for the creditors of the financial corporations.

    • Leverage of the banking sector

      In 2011, in 11 out of 30 OECD countries for which data are available, the leverage of the banking sector was above the OECD average of 13.9. Greece had the highest ratio, exceeding three times the OECD average, followed by Italy and Germany recording a ratio around twice the OECD average. Canada had the lowest ratio with 2.3 in 2011.

    • Share of profit and labour in value added

      For non-financial corporations, profit shares – that is the share of net operating surplus to net value added – above 50% were recorded in Mexico (58.9%) and Ireland (50.4%) in 2011. The largest labour share of value added was recorded in Switzerland (85.7%) and Slovenia (83.8%).

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Annexes

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    • Reference series

      The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

    • The 2008 SNA – changes from the 1993 SNA

      For all OECD countries except Australia and the United States, the indicators presented in this publication are based on the 1993 SNA. For Canada, the non-financial indicators are presented on a 1993 SNA basis whereas the data for the financial indicators are presented on a 2008 SNA basis. The 2008 SNA has been finalised in 2009 and includes a number of changes to the 1993 SNA. It will be adopted by most OECD countries at the end of 2014 and this publication will reflect these changes in the next year’s publication. Therefore, the key changes (those that will eventually impact on the indicators presented in this publication) are discussed below. For Australia, an indication of the size of the changes for the two most significant items (R&D and weapons system) that impact on the indicators is also presented below. A full description of the impact of the 2008 SNA on Australia’s accounts can be found at:

    • Glossary of main terms

      The definitions in this Glossary are based on the actual wording used in the System of National Accounts, 1993 (SNA93). Where applicable, each definition shows the paragraph of SNA93 from which the definition has been derived.

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