Over the course of the weeklong meeting, experts from 16 countries and representatives from the IMF, Eurostat, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations, and the World Bank conferred on a large number of proposed changes. Most of these changes originate from three sources:
- the so-called Canberra II group, which is working on recommendations for the treatment of issues related to capital and the new economy;
- the current revision of the Balance of Payments Manual, which is bringing a number of issues to the fore-especially those related to innovations in financial instruments; and
- the recently created international task force on public sector accounting, in which the IMF has the lead.
Adoption of these proposed changes is expected to directly benefit IMF analysis and policy advice. In an address to participants, IMF Deputy Managing Director Agustín Carstens noted the importance of these issues to the IMF and underscored how vital good-quality national accounts-in particular sound data on economic growth-are for assessing the effects of policies. He suggested that countries may need more thorough updates of their national accounts than the usual revisions achieve. He likened revisions to the type of maintenance that keeps an old plane in the air but does not bring it up to modern standards. And antiquated systems of national accounts, he added, can miss important developments, such as the new economy.
Indeed, issues related to the new economy...