The 14th comprehensive revision of the National Income and Product Accounts, covering the period 1929-2013QI (as well as the second quarter 2013 advance estimate), was released on July 31, 2013. This year’s revision (which occurs about every five years) included several major improvements to the accounts, including expanded capitalization of intellectual property products and a change to accrual accounting for defined benefit pension plans. More precisely, major conceptual changes include: capitalize research & development (R&D); capitalize entertainment, literary, and artistic originals; expanded capitalization of ownership transfer costs of residential housing; accrual treatment of defined benefit pension plans. As BEA notice in its breefing following the revision, the most important reason for the changes is growing importance of intellectual property products in business and productivity.
The biggest change is, indeed, the elevation of intangible assets such as intellectual property, original pieces of art including films and books. As a counsiquence of these changes, US economy as a whole increased by about $560 bln. Future growth rates of US GDP will be boosted too. So, in the 2nd quarter 2013, gross domestic product increased by 1.7% at an annualized growth rate compared to the 1st quarter. Newertheless, analysts are sceptic about such changes, because an upward revision of GDP will not rise wages or decrease unemployment, moreover it will play havoc with forecasts. However, the unparalleled advantage of the revision is that national accounts measurement starts moving closer to morden economic theory and business practice.
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What is the expenditure approach? The expenditure method to calculating GDP is an approch that totals consumption, investment, government spending, and net exports (exports minus imports).
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Source: UN National Accounts
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook, April 2014