Measuring Capital - OECD Manual 2009

Second edition

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Capital - in particular of the physical sort - plays several roles in economic life: it constitutes wealth and it it provides services in production processes. Capital is invested, disinvested and it depreciates and becomes obsolescent and there is a question how to measure all these dimensions of capital in industry and national accounts. This revised Capital Manual is a comprehensive guide to the approaches toward capital measurement. It gives statisticians, researchers and analysts practical advice while providing theoretical background and an overview of the relevant literature. The manual comes in three parts - a first part with a non-technical description with the main concepts and steps involved in measuring capital; a second part directed at implementation and a third part outlining theory and a more complete mathematical formulation of the measurement process.

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Gross Fixed Capital Formation

Whatever the specific way of implementing measures of capital services and capital stocks, one of the key ingredients is investment data. Investment data should be broken down by type of asset and by economic activity. The level of disaggregation should be as detailed as the data allows and distinguish in particular those capital goods whose purchase prices follow different trends. Likewise, the industry break-down is important if it is believed that asset compositions vary greatly between industries and/or different industries face different depreciation rates, required rates of return and purchase prices of capital goods.

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