National accounts and business cycles;Education

Education accounts2017


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Education accounts
Topic: National accounts and business cycles

Responsible division

Division for National Accounts

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

The goal of the Satellite Account for Education and traing is to compile the total expenditure on education and training consistent with the national accounts framework. Only current expenditure is consided, that is, all current education and training costs for non-market educational/vocational training institutions and sales of market producers; these items can also be split by education and training purposes. A detailed list of items includes:

  • Direct costs related to running public educational institutions (iincluding compensation of employees, consumption of fixed capital)
  • Direct expenses by employers for employee internal training which consist of purchases of education services which is part of intermediate consumption, and expenditures on in-house training.
  • Household expenditures for purchased educational services: i) costs for education programmes requested by institutions and the cost of education not specifically required by institutions, that students can incur to study at home (textbooks, supplies)

Student loan, kindergarten and transportation is not included 

Standard classifications

Satellite Account for education and training: compilation guide (2019)

The education account is organised around a tri-axial system of recording the education expenditure. The expenditure is grouped into the three following categories: 

  •  Education by function
  •  Education service provider industries
  •  sources of funding


Education by function

The functional approach refers to the purposes of education. Different producers may provide the same kind of education, i.e. both central government and market producers could provide higher education. The functional classifications are as follows:

  • EP1 - Primary education
  • EP2 - Secondary education
  • EP3 - Higher education
  • EP4 - vocational training
  • EP5 - Other education 
  • EP6 - In-house training of enterprises
  • EP7 - Associated goods and services (not allocated)

Associated goods and services are goods and services directly related to the purpose of delivering education and training services (e.g. stationery) and is not allocated to spesific EPs due to insufficent information. 


 Classification of education providers

Education expenditures by provider is based on industry classification of the unit who provides education services to the user. Each service can be connected to one og more providers. The classification of education provider industries is listed in the table below:

  • Central government
  • Local government
  • Market producers of education     
  • Non-profit institutions serving households
  • Other market producers
  • Rest of the world

 For cross-classifications of the education providers with ISIC (International Standard Industrial Classification),

Classification of education service financing

In Norway, education goods and services are financed both by private and public sources. Central government and local government are the public sources, while the private sources mainly consist of household out-of-pocket payments. The classification of financing is listed in the table below:

  • Central government
  • Local government
  • Households
  • Non-profit institutions serving households
  • Other market producers
  • Rest of the world

The division of education expenditure by function, producer and funding source provides a number of combination opportunities. For example, a combination of function and provider can give an overview of who produces the different services and what purpose they have. Furthermore, this can be combined with the source of funding  to illuminate who finances the spending.

Administrative information

Regional level

National level

Frequency and timeliness

The education accounts is compiled on an annual basis. The final figures are published the fall two years after the end of the reference year, and are based on detailed sources.

International reporting

Not relevant


Not relevant


Background and purpose

It is important for politicians to understand the importance of human capital (investment in people) to better understand what drives economic growth and a functioning labor market. It was therefore demanded a more sophisticated way to measure human capital to ensure more targeted investment in the future, and on the basis of this developed and published UNECE 'Human Capital Measurement Guide (2016)'. The guide recommended either estimating the value of human capital by cost-based method or income method.

Due to data access and methodological challenges, the guide recommended developing a satellite account for education and training based on the cost-based approach to better understand differences in human capital between countries. Based on this recommendation, an international working group was established in 2017, which has developed the framework / guide Satellite account for education and training: compilation guide (2019). The group also coordinated the testing of setting up a satellite account for training and education among countries with different assumptions based on the guide that was designed. Norway was one of the countries that made a pilot, and as a result, the education accounts was created. The Education Accounts estimates the total expenses related to education and training and calculations are based on common concepts, definitions, classifications, and accounting rules from the guidance to ensure comparability over time and across countries.


Users and applications

Major users of the education accounts include the Ministry of Education and Research and subordinate institutions, other ministries, research institutes, international organisations, the media etc.

Equal treatment of users

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 08.00 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Coherence with other statistics

The Norwegian education accounts is compiled within the framework of the national accounts, and thus consistent with the core national accounts data. It is also consistent with the central and local government fiscal accounts, educational institutions accounts etc.

Legal authority

Not relevant

EEA reference

Not relevant



The Education Account is based on Satellite Account for education and training: compilation guide (2019). 

Total education expenditure measures the final consumption of education goods and services (i.e. current education expenditure) in addition to capital investment in education infrastructure

The education accounts provide a comprehensive accounting framework for the entire field of education activities. The system presents education expenditure by function, by source of funding and by provider industry. The objective of the education accounts is to constitute a system of comprehensive, internally consistent and internationally comparable accounts, which should also be compatible with other aggregate economic and social statistics as far as possible.

Data sources and sampling

The education accounts are linked to the regular national accounts as a so-called satellite. This means that detailed data from a range of sources integrated in the national accounts serve as a tool for presenting the education expenditure.

The most important sources for compiling education expenditure are public accounts and accounts of public and private universities and university colleges. Furthermore, all relevant data from the national accounts will be reorganised and utilised in the education accounts.

The main part of the compilation of the education accounts consists of linking data from the national accounts to the education accounts according to the classifications defined in the Satellite Account for education and  training: compilation guide (2019). In some cases the national accounts provide data at a more aggregate level than what is needed for the education accounts. In those cases extended data sources are used to identify the necessary details. For instance, data from Eurostat's survey on continuing vocational training (CVT) is used to estimate in-house training.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

The education accounts is based on source statistics collected by other divisions in Statistics Norway. There is no separate data collection for the compilation of the education accounts.

The education accounts is to some extent based on more detailed statistics than what is relevant for the national accounts.

The education accounts is based on information in the Norwegian national accounts, and revisions of the national accounts data will consequently influence the education accounts.

The Norwegian education accounts provide currently only data in current prices.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


According to the Statistics Act §2-6 information collected in accordance with any prescribed obligation to provide information, or which is given voluntarily, shall under no circumstances be published in such a way that it may be traced back to the supplier of any data or to any other identifiable individual to the detriment of the person concerned.

Comparability over time and space

One of the main purposes of the education accounts is to provide a common framework for increased comparability of data over time and across countries. As the Norwegian education accounts are compiled according to Satellite Accounts for Education and Training: compilation Guide (2019) , the Norwegian data will be comparable with data from other countries using the same international guidelines.

Consistent Norwegian education expenditure data are available from 2015.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

The Norwegian education accounts are compiled using several different statistical sources. The statistical sources consist of data from establishments, enterprises, and households. In addition, different administrative registers are used. The uncertainty in the national accounts estimates is related to the errors in source data and the compilation methods. Uncertainty connected to the different statistical sources is usually described as part of the documentation of the sources. Several of the statistical sources used in the compilation of the national accounts remain preliminary for longer periods, as they require extensive analysis and numerous revisions before the final figures are known.

Since the system of national accounts is an integrated system containing routines for consistency checks of data, one assumes that the national accounts contribute to reduce the uncertainty in source data. On the other hand, the national accounts require the compilation of figures in areas where source statistics are limited or even lacking. In such cases figures are compiled using statistical methods, and hence subject to uncertainty.


National accounts - revision strategy

The national accounts are compiled in different versions: annual accounts are normally compiled in three consecutive preliminary versions and a final one; and occasionally a main revision later on. Main revisions will be carried out every 5-7 years.

The degree of revisions will depend on the availability of new and more comprehensive data sources. For instance, the introduction of the new system developed for reporting data from local to central government (KOSTRA), resulted in improved municipality data and subsequent revisions of the local government figures in the national accounts.