The Integrated Macroeconomic Accounts of the United States

Marco Cagetti, Elizabeth Ball Holmquist, Lisa Lynn, Susan Hume McIntosh, David Wasshausen

This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress, Dale W. Jorgenson, J. Steven Landefeld, and Paul Schreyer, editors
Conference held August 6-8, 2012
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press
in NBER Book Series Studies in Income and Wealth

The integrated macroeconomic accounts (IMAs), produced jointly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), present a sequence of accounts that relate income, saving, investment in real and financial assets, and asset revaluations to changes in net worth. This paper first provides some background information on the IMAs and on their construction. Next, it discusses the usefulness of the IMAs, focusing for instance on the evolution of household net worth and its components, a set of series that has appeared frequently in discussions of the causes and effects of the recent financial crisis. It also discusses some of the challenges associated with integrating nonfinancial and financial data sources, that is, the current and capital accounts statistics from BEA’s national income and product accounts (NIPAs) and the financial account statistics from FRB’s flow of funds accounts (FFAs). In the final section, this paper discusses future plans for improving the IMAs, including a proposed framework and methodology for breaking out the financial business sector into three subsectors: 1, central bank; 2, insurance and pension funds; and 3, other financial business.

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This paper was revised on August 14, 2013

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