Notater 2015/03

Process tables in the Norwegian national accounts

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Process tables is a tool for presenting and explaining in a tabular form what sources are used and what happens to the source figures in the process of compiling national accounts. In Norway the first attempt to produce some sort of process table was carried out in the early 2000s. The use of the table was first and foremost to inform the various statistical divisions within Statistics Norway of what happens to “their figures” in the national accounts.

During the same period Eurostat developed at set of process tables to accompany the detailed documentation of the national accounts in terms of an Inventory for each member country. The Eurostat guidelines on process tables were given in the document Eurostat/C1/GNIC/054 and presented in 2005. Norway compiled for the first time a process table of the Eurostat type as part of the 2007 Inventory. The tables were modified following the Eurostat visits to Statistics Norway in 2009 and 2010.

These first attempts in compiling process tables were largely done manually as a sub-routine subsequent to the compilation of the final national accounts. Clear lessons from these experiences were that to achieve tables of good quality and in an efficient way the tables must be compiled as an integrated part of the national accounts compilation process itself and as much as possible in an automated way. The crucial questions to be answered in designing a system for the compilation of process tables in practice are what technical platform to use and at what level of details and at what frequency should the tables be compiled? Also, what structure or type of characteristics should be used in the tables – identical to those of the Euorstat tables or are there special needs of Statistics Norway to be taken into account?

This report addresses these questions and presents the new system for process tables in the Norwegian national accounts. This system is built to serve both the needs of Eurostat and some additional needs of Statistic Norway. The tables will be compiled on an annual basis as part of the routines of compiling the final national accounts. However, as the report reveals, although the structure and design of all the tables have been finalized, some follow-up work will have to be done to finalize the routines for filling in all the process tables. This concerns in particular the household final consumption and exports and imports of the table for the expenditure measure, and the tables for the income measure and the table for transition from GDP to GNI.

Authors: Tore Halvorsen and Kerstin Ståhlbrand Solholm

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