This document provides a comprehensive documentation of data sources and methods for calculating the central variables gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national income (GNI) in the Norwegian national accounts. The documentation covers the first published final version for the year 2019, published in November 2021. The document, referred to as the GNI Inventory for Norway 2019, follows a template the EU statistical office Eurostat has initiated and was sent to Eurostat at the start of the year 2022. In line with the template from Eurostat, the documentation only includes calculations of current prices figures, and not price and volume estimates.
GDP is a measure of total economic activity within an economic territory (Norway in our case) and expresses the economic added value that is earned through production. GDP is measured in market value and can be defined and determined based on three different methods: The production method, the expenditure method and the income method, respectively.
GNI includes income accruing to nationals (permanent residents, i.e. Norwegians and foreign nationals living in Norway) from domestic production and from asset investments abroad. In addition, there is compensation of employees from foreign employers, minus foreigners' income from asset investments in Norway and foreigners' salary from Norwegian employers. This means that GNI can be calculated as:
Gross domestic product
- Property income and compensation of employees to abroad
+ Property income and compensation of employees from abroad
The Norwegian national accounts are prepared by Statistics Norway (SSB) according to the principles of the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). This is common to all countries in the European Statistical System (ESS). For Norway, this is part of the EEA agreement.
In the EU, GNI is an important figure, which is used, among other things, as an administrative basis for determining the payments from the member states to the common EU budget. It is therefore important that all member states follow the same principles (in ESA) and methods, so that calculated levels of GNI in the various countries are reliable and comparable. To ensure this, the EU's statistical agency Eurostat has a program for verifying the GNI figures.
Central to this verification is that the countries prepare detailed descriptions of the data sources and calculation methods for GDP and GNI according to a template from Eurostat. This description, called the GNI Inventory, is prepared approximately every five years. The national accounts are prepared in several versions with different sources and methods, monthly, quarterly and annually. The GNI Inventory describes the most detailed annual calculations. Chapters 3 to 7 cover GDP calculations in current prices, while chapter 8 describes the transition from GDP to GNI, with the calculation of property income and compensation of employees to and from abroad. Chapter 1 is a summary of the content of the other chapters. The GNI Inventory does not cover the calculations of volume and price changes. These are described in a separate note.
The sources and calculation methods in the national accounts are constantly evolving. Every few years, new data sources and calculation methods are incorporated. Changes that cause a break in relation to previously published figures are preferably incorporated in the form of revisions in backward series of figures to ensure consistency between figures for different periods (years, quarters, months). Such continuous quality improvements or definition changes will normally be "collected” to periodic revisions of number series, usually referred to as main revisions. The previous main revision was carried out in 2019, and the next is planned for 2024. However, in connection with the publication of the final national accounts for the year 2020 in the autumn of 2022, an interim revision (an "extra" round of revisions between two main revisions) was carried out. The main retroactive revisions were:
- Improvement of the calculations of free banking services, so-called FISIM (Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured).
- Changed the calculation for the central bank's activity.
- Changed data sources and methods for production processes that go across national borders, where the goods are sent across national borders without a change of ownership (processing) and income related to the purchase and sale of goods abroad (merchanting).
The implementation of the interim revision means that the most recently published figures for 2019 are not entirely in accordance with the GNI Inventory for Norway for 2019. For a more detailed discussion of the changes that were carried out as part of the interim revision in the autumn of 2022, see the document that discusses the publication of quarterly national accounts for the 3rd quarter of 2022 and final national accounts for 2020 (in Norwegian only), section 4.3 and chapter 5.