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National Transfer Accounts Manual

Measuring and Analysing the Generational Economy

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National Transfer Accounts (NTA) provides a coherent accounting framework of economic flows from one age group or generation to another, typically for a national population in a given calendar year. This manual consolidates and presents in a systematic fashion the concepts, the methods and estimation procedures to measure these flows of resources across age. The NTA estimates are useful to understand and analyse inter-generational economic flows, and the implications of changing population age structures for the fiscal sustainability of social programs, the accumulation of physical and human capital, macroeconomic growth, and familial support for children, youth and older persons.

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Population data

While most NTA calculations focus on estimating age patterns and adjusting national accounts into NTA macro controls, population data is crucial to final age profiles. They allow us to compute accurate aggregate profiles, and thus make the right macro adjustment. For this reason, it is important that our population data be accurate. Researchers should get the most recent vintage of estimates from the time period they are estimating NTA, either from their country?s statistical office or from the United Nations World Population Prospects estimates (see chapter 3 for the United Nations online data location). Do not use population counts or age distributions calculated from survey respondents or survey weights, as these will have sampling noise and may not be representative of the entire population.

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