Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
June 2002
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    Measuring the Non-Observed Economy

    A Handbook


    Pursuant to Article 1 of the Convention signed in Paris on 14th December 1960, and which came into force on 30th September 1961, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shall promote policies designed:

    • – to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of living in Member countries, while maintaining financial stability, and thus to contribute to the development of the world economy;

    • – to contribute to sound economic expansion in Member as well as non-member countries in the process of economic development; and

    • – to contribute to the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, non-discriminatory basis in accordance with international obligations.

    The original Member countries of the OECD are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The following countries became Members subsequently through accession at the dates indicated hereafter: Japan (28th April 1964), Finland (28th January 1969), Australia (7th June 1971), New Zealand (29th May 1973), Mexico (18th May 1994), the Czech Republic (21st December 1995), Hungary (7th May 1996), Poland (22nd November 1996), Korea (12th December 1996) and the Slovak Republic (14th December 2000). The Commission of the European Communities takes part in the work of the OECD (Article 13 of the OECD Convention).

    Publié en français sous le litre:

    Manuel sur la mesure de l’économie non observée

    © OECD 2002

    Permission to reproduce a portion of this work for non-commercial purposes or classroom use should be obtained through the Centre français d’exploitation du droit de copie (CFC), 20, rue des Grands-Augustins, 75006 Paris, France, tel. (33-1) 44 07 47 70, fax (33-1) 46 34 67 19, for every country except the United States. In the United States permission should be obtained through the Copyright Clearance Center, Customer Service, (508)750-8400, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923 USA, or CCC Online: All other applications for permission to reproduce or translate all or part of this book should be made to OECD Publications, 2, rue André-Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France.


    Complete coverage of economic production is a vital aspect of the quality of the national accounts. This exhaustiveness is hard to achieve because of the difficulties in accounting for certain types of productive activities. Activities that are missing from the basic data used to compile the national accounts because they are underground, illegal, informal, household production for own final use, or due to deficiencies in the basic data collection system are referred to as non-observed. They are said to comprise the non-observed economy (NOE), and including them in the national accounts is referred to as measurement of the NOE.

    Given the wide range of possible approaches to NOE measurement, there is a need to identify and promote international best practice. This is the aim of the Handbook. It presents a systematic strategy for achieving exhaustive estimates of gross domestic product that is consistent with international standards and, in particular, with the 1993 System of National Accounts.

    The Handbook was put together by a team drawn from national and international statistical organisations. The principal contributors were Adriaan Bloem, Manlio Calzaroni, Jacques Charmes, Michael Colledge (editor), Ralf Hussmanns, Youri Ivanov, Brugt Kazemier, Andrei Kosarev, Ronald Luttikhuizen, Sabina Ronconi, Manik Shrestha, Seppo Varjonen, Peter van de Ven and Denis Ward. Derek Blades provided detailed comments on all chapters. Helpful advice and comments were also received from Misha Belkindas, Peter Harper, Anne Harrison, Ralf Hein, Victor Holovko, Olga Ivanova, Irina Masakova, Paul McCarthy, Brian Newson, Vitezslav Ondrus, Gerhard Reinecke, Silke Stapel, Alexander Surinov and Jiri Vopravil. Particular thanks are due to the Italian National Statistical Institute (Istat), the Russian Federation State Statistical Committee, and Statistics Netherlands for their active support of this project.

    An electronic copy of the Handbook and supporting documentation are available on the Internet at Comments on the Handbook are welcomed and should be e-mailed to They will be taken into account in any future revision.

    • Enrico Giovannini

    • Chief Statistician and Director of the Statistics Directorate

    • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

    • Carol S. Carson

    • Director

    • Statistics Department

    • International Monetary Fund

    • Abimbola Sylvester Young

    • Director

    • Bureau of Statistics

    • International Labour Organisation

    • Mikhail Korolev

    • Chairman

    • Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States



    (See Annex 2 for definitions of terms)

    1968 SNA

    System of National Accounts 1968

    1993 SNA

    System of National Accounts 1993


    Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose


    Central Product Classification


    Consumer Price Index


    Data Quality Assessment Framework (IMF)

    ESA 1995

    European System of Accounts 1995


    Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured


    Gross Domestic Product


    General Data Dissemination Standard (IMF)


    Gross Fixed Capital Formation


    State Statistical Committee (abbreviation derived from the Russian)


    Household Expenditure Survey


    Harmonised System


    International Conference of Labour Statisticians


    International Monetary Fund


    Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques, France

    ISIC, Rev. 3

    International Standard Industrial Classification, Revision 3 (United Nations)


    Italian National Statistical Institute


    National Statistical Office


    National Statistical System


    Non-observed Economy


    Non-profit Institutions Serving Households


    Producer Price Index


    Special Data Dissemination Standard (IMF)


    Value Added Tax

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