outputs appear especially far from reach. We also have given priority to areas for which emerging data sources offer new opportunities. For example, there is considerable appeal to the idea of a fully developed human capital account that would parallel the extensive efforts by statistical agencies to measure the value of the nation’s physical capital stock. Given the data and conceptual work that is needed before real progress toward this ideal can be made, however, the panel advocates focusing first on a piece of the puzzle, a formal education account, where research and data on time inputs and output valuation are further developed.

Even within the set of areas identified here, there are differences in readiness to begin the construction of new satellite accounts. At this time, accounts for household production and the environment would rest on the firmest foundations; indeed, both the BEA and other national statistical offices already have done substantial work in these areas. In the remaining areas for which we advocate development efforts—the government and nonprofit sectors, education, and health—further conceptual thinking and new data collection are needed, and we encourage such work.

A set of accounts that covered the areas described in this report would go a long way toward documenting nonmarket production that contributes to social or private well-being, and would address many of the key principles generalizable to nonmarket accounting broadly. Nonetheless, we make no claim that a set of accounts covering the five areas on which the panel recommends focusing work would measure all nonmarket production or fully document all of the assets that contribute to social or private well-being. On the grounds outlined above (and elucidated further below), some other important areas receive limited attention in this report. They include safety and security, leisure activities, and the underground economy. We also do not delve deeply into the burgeoning literature that has grown up around ideas associated with the term “social capital.” Social capital has been loosely defined as “the networks of social relations that provide access to needed resources and supports…. A person’s family, friends, and associates are part of social capital…. Determinants of social capital formation can operate both at the individual and at the community level” (Policy Research Initiative, 2003).3

Consistent with this view that the satellite accounts should expand incrementally from the conventional accounts, the value of pleasure derived from the process of producing nonmarket outputs also is not part of the nonmarket satellite accounts the panel proposes. For example, the pleasure a person derives from cooking at home should not be part of a household production account, just as the pleasure from working as a professional chef is not included in the NIPAs. Even if one did want to account in some fashion for the pleasure associated with

3  

See the useful critical review by Steve Durlauf (2004). Many of the ideas associated with social capital were popularized in Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone.



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