Aimed primarily at meeting the needs of economists and statisticians, this pamphlet concisely describes the principles underlying the four main sets of macroeconomic accounts statistics, viewed as an integrated system. The four main sets are the national accounts, balance of payments and international investment position, monetary and financial statistics, and government finance statistics. To illustrate the relationships among the sets, the pamphlet covers statistics on transactions, stock data (asset and liability positions), and the linkages between stock data and transactions, as well as some economic statistical series closely related to these accounts.
Many early writers on economics, such as Adam Smith, focused on national wealth as an indicator of economic strength and performance. Later writers on economic theory, such as Keynes, Frisch, and Tinbergen, focused on economic flows. One major advance that the System of National Accounts 1993 (1993 SNA;Commission of the European Communities and others, 1993) made was to effectively marry these two approaches by linking in detail the accounts that present transactions and other economic flows with the balance sheets that present stocks of wealth.
Like the balance of payments manuals issued by the IMF in 1948, 1950, 1961, and 1977, the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5; IMF, 1993) serves as the international standard for the conceptual framework underlying balance of payments and international investment position (IIP) statistics. This framework assists countries in systematically collecting, organizing, and comparing these statistics across countries.
Monetary and financial statistics consist of a comprehensive set of stock and flow data on the financial and nonfinancial assets and liabilities of an economy’s financial corporations sector. The financial corporations sector plays an important role in matching units that have net lending surpluses with those that have borrowing requirements. Different types of financial corporations play specific roles, and a wide array of financial instruments exists to meet the complex needs of units active in financial markets. To show financial flows among the units and sectors of an economy and corresponding financial asset and liability positions, specialists have created statistical formats to organize and present the monetary and financial statistics.
Designed to meet the basic needs of economists and statisticians, this pamphlet is unique in providing an explanation of the key principles underlying macroeconomic statistics when viewed as an integrated system. It highlights the interrelationships between the various sectors and provides a bridge linking the various macroeconomic accounts statistics-national accounts, balance of payments, government finance statistics, and monetary and financial statistics-to assist the reader in understanding the main concepts underlying these statistics. It does so by simplifying many of the concepts, explaining common features and differences, showing how the four key statistical areas harmonize, and providing examples to demonstrate the practical application and uses of the concepts within the conceptual framework. The pamphlet completely updates Pamphlet No. 29, Macroeconomic Accounts: An Overview, by Poul Hølst-Madsen, which was published in 1985.
Economists and statisticians have long found it useful to separate the activities of government from those of the rest of the economy because the powers, motivation, and functions of government differ from those of other sectors. Governments have powers to raise taxes and other compulsory levies and to pass laws affecting the behavior of other economic units. They focus on public policy considerations rather than on profit maximization. The principal economic functions of general government are
International experts who designed the four main systems of macroeconomic statistics, described in the previous chapters, developed the systems to share many common features. Over the past two decades, the developers emphasized harmonization of the systems wherever possible, while maintaining the elements necessary in each specialized system to assist analysis. Although the specific needs of the specialized systems precluded full integration across systems, linkages across the systems reflect the many common features, promoting understanding and facilitating reconciliation to a large extent.