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CONSIDERACIONES GENERALES EN TORNO A LA MEDICION DEL CRECIMIENTO ECONOMICO EN LAS CUENTAS NACIONALES DE CHILE

Hugo Mena Keymer
Cuadernos de Economía
Año 26, No. 79 (Diciembre 1989), pp. 385-415
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41951176
Page Count: 31
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
CONSIDERACIONES GENERALES EN TORNO A LA MEDICION DEL CRECIMIENTO ECONOMICO EN LAS CUENTAS NACIONALES DE CHILE
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Abstract

Economists utilize National Accounts Statistics for several purposes. One of the most widely used indicators is real GDP (GNP), or the overall growth rate of the economy. However, unfortunately, very little is widely known regarding the general measurement methodologies involved. Furthermore, there seems to be an amazing lack of knowledge among the profession, regarding the underlying assumptions imbeded in the concept of "base year", typically employed for the computation of real National Accounts. To some extent, the latter obeys to a misleading use of terminology by the "specific" (official) literature dealing with National Accounts and Input-Output statistics (basically, a confussion between "technical coefficients" and "cost shares"). A wider knowledge of the essential methodological aspects (not necessarily the details) involved in these issues, is fundamental for all economists, specially for econometricians. This paper pretends to serve as a contribution in this sense. It is intended to be readable by all interested economists, particularly by those unfamiliar with the measurement methodologies employed in real National Accounts. Two are the main conclussions of this paper. 1. What LDC's compute as growth rate, does not correspond to the growth in the economy's real value added (as it should), but rather to growth in real gross production value. This flows from the general measurement methodology used to compute real output (which is different from the one employed in, for example, the US). In turn, this is due to the lack of an adequate set of sectoral price deflators within the statistical systems of these countries. 2. Changes in the "base year" of real National Accounts involves the consideration of different sets of "structural coefficients" in the economy, for the purpose of computing real output. Hence, one way to visualize the effect of "structural instability" on the measurement of economic growth, is to compare overlapping time series of growth rates under different "base years". Such empirical comparisons yield and amazingly high and time-varying "elasticity "of the economy's growth rate to changes in the real National Accounts' base year, for Chile and other LDC's (Argentina, Perú, Uruguay). On the contrary, for the US economy, this shows up as a "second order effect". Such evidence is nothing but a clear manifestation of the "structural instability" in LDC's, presumably driven by their drastic and recurrent "policy-regime-switches". These severely question the viability of any meaningful macroeconome trie testing for LDC's.

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