Pre-Conference Training Course on National Accounts, August 16-19, 2021


The purpose of this course is to give non-experts an introduction to the economic aggregates that are provided by national accounts and to the conceptual definitions that underlie these measurements. The course will introduce the student to the accounting framework, the measurement of production as reflected in GDP, the accounts for households, businesses, and governments, and give examples of how national economic data are used in compiling the accounts. It will also discuss criticisms and limitations of the accounts and address proposed measures that go “beyond GDP.” The course will include discussion and some exercises.

The instructor, Brent Moulton, draws on many years of practical experience as head of the U.S. national accounts. His bio is below.

The text is the second edition (October 2014) of the OECD manual, Understanding National Accounts by François Lequiller and Derek Blades. The manual is available online, and the chapters referenced in the course outline below are from the manual.

The course is free for IARIW members and employees of Institutional members. To become a member click here, and to view if your employer is an Institutional Member click here.

Course Details

The course will be taught remotely. It takes 16 hours in eight sessions taught over four days. The classes will take place from 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM Central European Summer Time and from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

Day 1 (August 16, 2021):
Session 1: The essential macroeconomic aggregates, GDP, and the basic accounting identities (Chapter 1)
Session 2: Accounting for differences in prices—the volume price split, and international comparisons (Chapters 2 and 3)
Day 2 (August 17, 2021):
Session 3: Production, the production frontier, and final uses (Chapters 4 and 5)
Session 4: Supply and use tables, integrated accounts, and compilation and reporting of the statistics (Chapters 10 and 11)
Day 3 (August 18, 2021):
Session 5: Household and business accounts (Chapters 6 and 7)
Session 6: Financial accounts (Chapter 8)
Day 4 (August 19, 2021):
Session 7: General government accounts (Chapter 9)
Session 8: GDP and well-being, globalization (Chapters 15 and 16)
Instructor Bio

Brent Moulton served as Associate Director for National Economic Accounts at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis for 19 years before retiring at the end of 2016. In that position, he oversaw the compilation of the U.S. national accounts including GDP. Internationally, he was a long-time member of the Advisory Expert Group on the System of National Accounts and contributed to the 2008 update of the SNA, as well as an active participant in national accounts working groups at the OECD and at UNECE. Since retiring from the U.S. government, he has done research work for the Brookings Institution and the World Bank and is currently employed as a senior economist at the Statistics Division of the International Monetary Fund.

Prior to joining BEA, Dr. Moulton was served as Chief of the Price and Index Number Research Division at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, where he led major improvements to the consumer price index. He has taught courses in economics and statistics in government and at several universities. He received a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and is the author of many professional articles on economics and statistics.