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Government at a Glance 2011
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branch Glossary
Term
Use in Government at a Glance
Cash transfers
Benefits provided to eligible individuals by governments that are not required to be spent on a specific good or service. Examples of cash transfers include pensions, unemployment benefits and development aid.
Collective goods and services
Goods and services that benefit the community at large. Examples include government expenditures on defence, and public safety and order.
Composite index
An indicator formed by compiling individual indicators into a single index on the basis of an underlying model (Nardo et al., 2005).
Dataset
A set of indicators or variables concerning a single topic (e.g. regulatory quality).
Efficiency
Achieving maximum output from a given level of resources used to carry out an activity (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
Effectiveness
The extent to which the activity's stated objectives have been met (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
European Systems of National Accounts
An internationally compatible accounting framework used by members of the European Union for a systematic and detailed description of a total economy (that is a region, country or group of countries), its components and its relations with other total economies (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms). It is fully consistent with System of National Accounts (SNA).
Federal state
A country that has a constitutionally delineated division of political authority between one central and several regional or state autonomous governments.
Full-time equivalent (FTE)
The number of full-time equivalent jobs, defined as total hours worked divided by average annual hours worked in full-time jobs (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
General government
The general government sector consists of: a) all units of central, state or local government; b) all social security funds at each level of government; c) all non-market non-profit institutions that are controlled and mainly financed by government units. The sector does not include public corporations, even when all the equity of such corporations is owned by government units. It also does not include quasi-corporations that are owned and controlled by government units. However, unincorporated enterprises owned by government units that are not quasi-corporations remain integral parts of those units and, therefore, must be included in the general government sector (1993 System of National Accounts).
Governance
The exercise of political, economic and administrative authority.
Gross domestic product (GDP)
The standard measure of the value of the goods and services produced by a country during a period. Specifically, it is equal to the sum of the gross values added of all resident institutional units engaged in production (plus any taxes, and minus any subsidies, on products not included in the value of their outputs). The sum of the final uses of goods and services (all uses except intermediate consumption) measured in purchasers' prices, less the value of imports of goods and services, or the sum of primary incomes distributed by resident producer units (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
In-kind goods and services
Government provides (or contracts for the provision of) these goods and services directly or reimburses households for their expenses. Examples of in-kind goods and services include housing vouchers, police, and most health and education services.
Indicator
"… quantitative or qualitative measure derived from a series of observed facts that can reveal relative positions (e.g. of a country) in a given area. When evaluated at regular intervals, an indicator can point out the direction of change across different units and through time" (Nardo et al., 2005).
Individual goods and services
Goods and services that mainly benefit individuals. Examples include education, health and social insurance programmes.
Input
Units of labour, capital, goods and services used in the production of goods and services. "Taking the health service as an example, input is defined as the time of medical and non-medical staff, the drugs, the electricity and other inputs purchased, and the capital services from the equipment and buildings used" (Lequiller, 2005).
Labour force
The labour force, or currently active population, comprises all persons who fulfil the requirements for inclusion among the employed or the unemployed during a specified brief reference period (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
Outcome
Refers to what is ultimately achieved by an activity. Outcomes reflect the intended or unintended results of government actions, but other factors outside of government actions are also implicated (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
Output
In performance assessment in government, outputs are defined as the goods or services produced by government agencies (e.g. teaching hours delivered, welfare benefits assessed and paid) (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
Productivity
Productivity is commonly defined as a ratio of a volume measure of output to a volume measure of input use (OECD Statistical Glossary). Economists distinguish between total productivity, namely total output divided by change in (weighted) input(s) and marginal productivity, namely change in output divided by change in (weighted) input(s) (Coelli et al., 1999).
Public sector
The general government sector plus (quasi) public corporations (1993 System of National Accounts).
Public sector process
Structures, procedures and management arrangements with a broad application within the public sector.
System of National Accounts
The System of National Accounts (SNA) consists of a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macroeconomic accounts, balance sheets and tables based on a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules (SNA1.1). The System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA) has been prepared under the joint responsibility of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Commission of the European Communities, the OECD and the World Bank (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
Unitary states
Countries that do not have a constitutionally delineated division of political authority between one central and several regional or state autonomous governments. However, unitary states may have administrative divisions that include local and provincial or regional levels of government.
Variable
A characteristic of a unit being observed that may assume more than one of a set of values to which a numerical measure or a category from a classification can be assigned (e.g. income, age, weight, etc., and "occupation" , "industry" , "disease" , etc.) (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms).
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