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Recessions
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Are National Accounts Revisions Harmful for Historical Comparisons?
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Dieter Brümmerhoff & Michael Grömling, World Economics, December 2012
Revisions of national accounts affect economic analysis, calling into question theoretical findings based on earlier data. Revisions to German national accounts have resulted in a markedly higher GDP in absolute terms and a lower volatility in macroeconomic production. According to the revised data, recessions have been less pronounced. Moreover, less volatility in production has changed income accounts and, above all, reduced the fluctuations in property and entrepreneurial income. The stylised fact of declining property and entrepreneurial incomes during recessions in West Germany from 1970 to 1991 has vanished into thin air as a result of the revisions of 2002 and 2006.
Poles Apart
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Paul Gregg, Kirstine Hansen & Jonathan Wadsworth, World Economics, June 2000
Analysis of labour market performance using individual level data can reach radically different conclusions to those provided by a household-based analysis, using the same source of information. In Britain and other OECD countries the number of households without access to earned income has grown despite rising employment rates. Built around a comparison of the actual jobless rate in households with that which would occur if work were randomly distributed, the authors show that work is becoming increasingly polarised in many countries. Changing household structure can only account for a minority of the rise in workless households, so that labour market failure is the dominant explanation. Polarisation of work will have important welfare and budgetary consequences for any country.

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