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Institutions and statistics: the case of fixed assets accounts

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 18-01-2018
TERRA ECONOMICUS. 2017.  Т. 15. № 4. С. 33-45. 
The paper analyzes the impact of institutions upon the state of economic statistics. The study focuses on the most complex and essential area of economic statistics: the fixed assets statistics. Its positions under various social-and-economic systems are considered. The authors show that its emergence under capitalism was facilitated by developing private entrepreneurship, democracy and respect of the authorities and society towards science and high education. A comparative analysis of these statistical data across different countries proves their dependence on the level of national economic-and-cultural development, and advancement of private business. For instance, it was absent in the tsarist Russia. Development of the fixed assets statistics in the command economies is analyzed using an example of the USSR. It ascertained that its state in the 1930s–1950s was depressing, which is explained by prevalence of orientation towards physical indicators in the actual planning practice in that period. At the same time, unlike capitalism, individual researchers could not perform and especially publish independent estimates of the costs and trend patterns for fixed assets due to political reasons. They could destroy an illusion of enormously successful Soviet economy. After a short period of relatively objective determination of the costs of the fixed assets stock of in 1960 it continued deteriorating. Due to degradation of economic science, criticism of the state of this segment of economic statistics practically terminated. In the post- Soviet period, the gap between the fixed asset statistics and the reality reached its peak. Currently it is the worst in the world in terms of the credibility level, particular due to a gloomy quality of public administration, civil society, business community and economic science. Poor fixed assets statistics prevents reasonable analyzing and forecasting of the processes of Russian economy.
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