Understanding National Accounts

image of Understanding National Accounts

This manual explains what GDP and GNI and their components are and what they mean. It shows how they are used and what they are used for. And it does this in an easily understood way. Opening with a chapter showing how national accounts concepts relate to macroeconomics, the books goes on to systematically deal with volume and prices, international comparability, production, final uses, household accounts, business accounts, government accounts, and financial accounts. It also has chapter on how national accounts data are gathered and the history of the national accounts system. Three special chapters examine national accounts in China, India, and the United States. Previously published only in French, this manual has been revised and expanded to have a truly global perspective. 

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International comparisons

In Chapter 2, we examined the comparability of data over time for the national accounts of a given country. We saw how to separate changes in volume from changes in prices. In this chapter, we shall examine the comparison of data among several countries. Inter-country comparisons are more difficult for at least three reasons: 1) despite the efforts to achieve international synchronization, the statistical methods for estimating national accounts variables can vary from one country to another; 2) individual countries' institutions can be different; and (3) countries do not have the same currency and the same price levels.


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