By R. Allen
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Additional resources for An Introduction to National Accounts Statistics
Annual data for 1975 and 1978 from the 1979 Blue Book are used for illustration; the 1975 figures are firm, and those for 1978 provisional. 10 for estimates of output by industry. The years 1975-8 are aperiod both of considerable inflation and of recovery from depression. In order to quantify changes over the period, some of the tabulations show appropriate percentages. One type of percentage is simple: a total or component in 1978 expressed as a percentage ofthe corresponding figure in 1975. This suffers from the fact that, being based on current prices, the percentages reflect the combined result of a recovery in real terms and of inflationary price movements.
The third type of account is the capital account which takes over, on its receipts side, the saving balance in the income and expenditure account. Receipts are then set against capital expenditures of all kinds, on real and on financial assets, and without any balance left over. The account reflects the ex post identity between saving and investment. It is in the sector accounts that double-entry book-keeping plays its major role. It is not only that items on one side of a sector account match those on the other side, but also a matter oftransferring a credit item in one account to appear again as adebit item in another account.
Some assessment of the errors involved is given in the section on reliability in Sources and Methods pp. 39-42. Two questions arise. Both estimates are subject to error: can an estimate be arrived at for the error in each? The answer is: no. Since this doesn 't work, can the relative errors be assessed so that one total can be taken as nearer to the 'correct' figure than the other? The answer is again: no. A compromise is needed; that adopted is described on p. 108 of the 1979 Blue Book: Two estimates ofthe gross domestic product are built up from largely independent data on income and final expenditure.
An Introduction to National Accounts Statistics by R. Allen