Globalisation in macroeconomic statistics

The impact of globalisation on economic statistics is a highly topical and increasingly relevant issue for both statisticians, who provide, and analysts, who use macro-economic statistics. The growing cross-border interactions involve significant challenges for suppliers of macro-economic data, but the interpretation and application of statistics is also becoming more difficult.

In recent decades, there has been a deepening of globalization through, for example, global production arrangements. Increasingly, production processes extend over the whole world, and the relevance of legal national borders is fading. As a result, it is becoming more and more difficult to apply the standard definitions regarding internal (domestic or national) vs. external (foreign) economic activities. Therefore, the dividing line between resident and non-resident economic units – a major distinction for national accounts – is also fading.

The features of economic globalisation which causes most measurement problems are:

  • increasing share of international transactions between parents, subsidiaries and affiliates
  • flows of intellectual property and related income
  • new treatment of goods for processing and merchanting, and
  • dealing with factoryless goods producers.

All of these increasingly common aspects of economic globalisation make the capture and accurate measurement of cross-border flows a growing challenge for national statisticians. For these reasons the EU Member States identified globalisation as the highest priority in the research agenda of the future edition of the System of National Accounts (SNA) and the European System of Accounts (ESA).