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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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An overview of national transfer accounts

National Transfer Accounts provide an accounting of economic flows to and from residents of a country classified by their age. The accounts are comprehensive in that all economic flows that arise as a consequence of the production of goods and services during the year are incorporated into the accounts. The aggregate values are broadly consistent with those found in national accounts, as detailed in the System of National Accounts (SNA) methodology maintained by the United Nations (see box 2.1), but there are also important differences discussed in more detail below. National Transfer Accounts are structured to emphasize the generational economy and its key features: the economic life cycle and age reallocations realized by relying on intergenerational transfers and assets. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the accounts, while the remaining chapters in this manual will emphasize account details and the construction of National Transfer Accounts.

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