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National Accounts at a Glance 2013

image of National Accounts at a Glance 2013

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 six key chapters, and provides indicators related to GDP, income, expenditure, production, government and capital respectively. Data are generally provided for the period 1998-2011.

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Total expenditure

described the concept of general government final consumption, reflecting the contribution government makes as a consumer of final goods and services for individual and collective consumption. Whilst useful in illustrating the scope for government to stimulate demand directly, it does not tell the full story. For a start the measure does not include gross fixed capital formation of government which is an area where the scope to stimulate demand is considerable. But it also excludes other components of spending by government not recorded as final consumption, for example, debt interest payments, and cash transfers, such as social benefits, which, collectively, better reflect the size of government and its ability to stimulate demand, without changing taxes say, both directly and indirectly. The concept that best reflects this overall expenditure is referred to as general government expenditure. It reflects the total amount of expenditure by government that needs to be financed via revenues, such as taxation, and borrowing.

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