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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The input-output table and integrated economic accounts

According to Edmond Malinvaud, one of the most distinguished contemporary French economists, the national accounts are “the presentation, in a rigorous accounting framework, of all the quantitative information relating to the nation’s economic activity”.* Here, the importance of the words “rigorous accounting framework” must be stressed. In fact, any macroeconomist carries in his head a simplified model of the economy in which everything made by someone is used by someone else, anything exported by someone is imported by someone else, anything saved by someone is invested by someone else, and so on.


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