The coherence of data is an aspect of quality closely associated with accuracy, both within the national accounts system itself, and compared with the various partial indicators of the economy. A major unifying feature within the Australian System of National Accounts is the use of supply and use methodology to confront the data and balance the components of GDP in annual terms.
The ABS publishes a large amount of data on various aspects of the economy. As the majority of these are used in the national accounts it could be expected that there would be coherence between the partial indicators data and the national accounts. While there are some differences in coverage and concept, there are formal processes in place to ensure that the various collections and national accounts staff come to a common view of the statistical treatment of current economic events. National accounts staff also have the opportunity to comment on the partial indicators before they are finalised for publication. None the less, over time, the process of annual benchmarking may lead to some divergence from the partial indicators.
On occasions, officials and commentators have questioned the coherence of national accounts and other economic data such as employment growth and taxation revenues. The relationship between growth in GDP and employment is complex, and leads and lags have been observed historically. There are many differences between income in the national accounts and the income tax base. For example, operating surplus in the national accounts excludes capital gains and losses and does not deduct net interest payments.
This page last updated 30 August 2007