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Government Finances, Economic Statistics.
Ulla Ryder Jørgensen
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National Accounts, Institutional Sectors

The national accounts are prepared according to international guidelines and, as a result, they will be comparable across countries. The current guidelines were implemented in 2014 and have been applied for revision of the national accounts back to 1966, however 1971 for institutional sectors. They reflect all parts of the national economy, so that most economic statistics contain figures that have their counterparts in the national accounts, which are e.g. fully consistent with the balance of payments and general government. For other statistics, the transition will often be complicated due to different definitions and requirements for coverage.

Comparability - geographical

From an international point-of-view, there is a high degree of comparability with respect to the sector accounts of other countries, since the Danish sector accounts have been prepared in compliance with the ESA 2010 guidelines, which is a European version of the UN’s "A System of National Accounts 2008" (SNA2008).

The institutional sectors are submitted regularly to Eurostat in two different reports (annual and quarterly). After carefully validating the data, Eurostat publishes the figures in its data bank, and at the same time submits the figures to other international data banks - such as the OECD. The Danish sector accounts are made available for comparison with corresponding statistics for the other countries.

The following seasonally adjusted series are published only in Eurostat:

  • Non-financial corporations: Compensation of employees, expenditure (D.1); Investments (P.51G); Gross value added (B.1G); Gross operating surplus and mixed income (B.2g+B.3g)
  • Households and NPISH: Gross operating surplus and mixed income (B.2g+B.3g); Property income, income (D.4); Property income, expenditure (D.4); Current taxes on income and capital, expenditure (D.5); Social security contributions, expenditure (D.61); Social benefits except social benefits in kind, income (D.62); Other current transfers, income (D.7); Other current transfers, expenditure (D.7); Correction for changes in pension rights, income (D.8); Investments (P.51G)”

Comparability over time

The institutional sectors are fully comparable over time, since implementation of fundamentally new international guidelines will also result in backward revisions to ensure comparability over time.

To begin with, the annual sector accounts go back to 1995, whereas annual data for the sector general government go back to 1971.

The quarterly institutional sectors are also fully comparable over time for the period since 1999, where Statistics Denmark drew up quarterly sector accounts for the first time.

Coherence - cross domain

The institutional sectors are a part of the national accounts. Accordingly, there is internal consistency between the sector-grouped macro data and the aggregate macro data for the overall economy. The system of concepts of the institutional sectors help ensure that, in principle, there is full comparability between all publications of the national accounts.

Direct comparison of the institutional sectors with micro data is more complicated, however, since different concept definitions, accounting methods and sources may be a source of discrepancies. The accounting method for e.g. disposable income and consumption differs between the macro-aggregate indicators in the institutional sectors and micro-based information in the household budget survey. This difference results in e.g. different saving rates.

Coherence - internal

Ensuring consistency between the institutional sectors and the other data of the national accounts is a very important criterion for success, since the system should be coherent and balanced. A fair share of resources is used to meet this objective in the institutional sectors, because the data of the institutional sectors is included in a vast number of contexts across the national accounts.