Understanding National Accounts

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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 systems of national accounts

Past and future

There are three recent studies of the history of national accounts. The preface to the 1993 System of National Accounts (“Perspectives on the 1993 SNA: Looking Back and Looking Ahead”) describes the development of the 1953, 1968 and 1993 versions of the SNA. André Vanoli, the French expert in national accounts, gives what must surely be the definitive history of national accounts in A History of National Accounts (IOS press, 2005, ISBN: 1-59603-469- 3). Angus Maddison, in the introduction of The World Economy: Historical Statistics (OECD, 2003), describes the very earliest attempts to measure national income. Maddison is the main source for the next section.


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