About Total Economy Database™

The Total Economy Database, (TED) is a comprehensive database with annual data covering GDP, population, employment, hours, labor quality, capital services, labor productivity, and total factor productivity for 123 countries in the world, plus a second version of Chinese data based on alternative data as prepared by  Wu (2014), updated and revised in 2016.

TED was developed by the Groningen Growth and Development Centre (University of Groningen, The Netherlands) in the early 1990s, and starting in the late 1990s, it was produced in partnership with The Conference Board. As of 2007, the database was transferred from the University of Groningen to The Conference Board, which has maintained and extended the database since then. In January 2010, the database was extended with a module on sources of growth, including labor quantity and quality, capital services (non-ICT and ICT), and total factor productivity. The extended module aims to integrate two previous data sets: the world economy productivity data set created by Dale Jorgenson and Khuong Vu of Harvard University and the Total Economy Growth Accounting Database of the Groningen Growth and Development Centre. With the November 2016 release, this module has been greatly improved and extended to include better estimates of investment and investment prices of information and communication technology and more countries.

TED is published every year in May (previously in January), including projections for the ongoing year. The main results are summarized in Summary Tables & Charts (Nov.2016). The database has been widely used by businesses, media and government alike. For example, in a recent Financial Times article it was labeled as an invaluable dataset (‘Economic ills of the UK extend well beyond Brexit’, September 29, 2016). Among others, the series in the database are also used regularly by the International Labor Office for their Key Indicators of the Labor Market (Chapter 16), and by the Department of Commerce in the Statistical Abstract of the United States; and by the Australian Productivity Commission.

With the November 2016 release, the TED is released in two parts, an adjusted version based on adjusted GDP deflators (which are adjusted for alternative ICT price deflators) and an original version comparable to earlier version of the TED. For more information, please refer to the change notes of the November release:

Change notes (November 2016)

TED includes data for 123 countries from 1950 onwards, these countries represent about 97 percent of the world population and, as smaller and poorer countries in particular are not yet included in the database, the sample represents an even larger share of the world GDP (99 percent).

The following series are included in the TED:

  • Real Gross Domestic Product

Gross domestic product (GDP) at market prices is an aggregate measure of production equal to the sum of the gross values added of all resident institutional units engaged in production (plus any taxes and minus any subsidies on products not included in the value of their outputs). The sum of the final uses of goods and services (all uses except intermediate consumption) is measured in purchasers’ prices less the value of imports of goods and services, or the sum of primary incomes distributed by resident producer units.

The GDP EKS series in TED are based on PPPs for 2015, which are updated from 2011 PPPs from the World/ICP PPP-round using the change in the national GDP deflator relative to the United States GDP deflator. Real GDP growth rates for the pre 1990 period are taken from Maddison’s historical series, and for later years taken from official data sources.

Chinese data is presented in two series, 'China (Alternative)' and 'China (Official)'. The latter is based on official government data, while 'China (Alternative)' represents alternative growth numbers, based on the work of Prof. Harry X. Wu, Hitotsubashi University. All regional aggregates in this document that include China are based on these alternative growth rates. For more information on The Conference Board's alternative growth measures for China, please refer to this Wu (2014) and this FAQ.

 

  • Population

Population is the annual average number of people present. Up to 1990, the population series are mostly derived from Angus Maddison’s Statistics on World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2008 AD (Last update: February 2010). From 1990 onwards, the series is mostly derived from the U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base. To extend the population series to the period before 1950, the series can be linked to Maddison’s historical series, which goes back to the nineteenth century and, in some cases, even further.

 

  • Employment

Employment figures should cover all persons engaged in some productivity activity that fall within the production boundary of the system. This group includes employees, the self-employed, unpaid family members that are economically engaged, apprentices, and the military. The production boundary follows the same domestic concept as the GDP, which includes all workers employed domestically, but not any nationals working abroad.

The employment data under National Accounts (domestic concept) from Eurostat and OECD databases are the main sources used for advanced economies to ensure the consistency between measure of employment and GDP. A consistent and comparable measure of employment for countries not covered by OECD and Eurostat is not available. Instead, various international data sets are used (e.g., United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), ILOSTAT database, etc.). The employment data obtained from these sources are not necessarily corrected for full-time equivalence, and we make no such adjustment to the data.

 

  • Annual Working Hours

Total hours worked represent the aggregate number of hours actually worked as an employee or a self-employed person during the accounting period and when their output is within the production boundary.

The series of hours worked are currently available for 68 countries in the database with OECD and Eurostat National Accounts being the major data sources for recent years. Such data sources ensure that the total hours worked are within the production boundary and are consistent with the employment figures used in our database.

 

  • GDP per Capita

GDP per capita is obtained by dividing annual GDP by population. To extend the GDP per capita series to the period before 1950, these series can be linked to the various historical series in Maddison’s Statistics on World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2008 AD (Last update: February 2010), which often go back to the nineteenth century and, in some cases, even further.

 

  • GDP per Person Employed

GDP per person engaged is obtained by dividing GDP by employment.

 

  • GDP per Hour Worked

GDP per hour is obtained by dividing GDP by total hours worked.

Compared to GDP per person employed, GDP per hour is the preferred measure of labor productivity because it measures labor intensity more adequately. However, the availability of this variable is restricted by the annual working hours data, which are currently available for 68 countries in the database.

 

  • Labor Compensation Share

The output for an economy can be measured by adding up all incomes, which must be either earned by factors of production (capital and labor) or taxed by government. Labor’s share in income is measured using compensation to employees and adding to it an adjustment (imputed wage compensation) for the self-employed.

 

  • Change in Labor Composition

Labor input in terms of total employment and total hour worked represents a series of labor quantity. In order to take the heterogeneity of the labor force into account in growth accounting analysis, an adjustment for the changes in the composition of labor is needed. The labor composition index is constructed on the basis of weighted measures of different skill-level groups in the labor force, using the Tornqvist index.

 

  • Growth in non-ICT Capital Services

Growth in non-ICT capital services refers to the change in the flow of productive services provided by non-ICT assets. Three types of non-ICT assets are included—transport equipment; plant, machinery, and other non-ICT equipment; and construction, building and other structures.

The underlying capital stock series are calculated from the investment data using the perpetual inventory method. The aggregation of the growth in capital services over the different asset types is calculated using the user cost approach.

 

  • Growth in ICT Capital Services

Growth in ICT capital services refers to the change in the flow of productive services provided by ICT assets. The three types of ICT assets included are computer hardware and equipment, telecommunication equipment, and computer software and services.

The underlying capital stock series are calculated from the investment data using the perpetual inventory method. The aggregation of the growth in capital services over the different asset types is calculated using the user cost approach.

 

  • Growth in Total Factor Productivity

Total factor productivity (TFP) growth accounts for the changes in output not caused by changes in labor and capital inputs. TFP growth represents the effect of technological change, efficiency improvements, and our inability to measure the contribution of all other inputs. It is estimated as the residual by subtracting the sum of two-period average compensation share weighted input growth rates from the output growth rate. Log differences of level are used for growth rates, and hence TFP growth rates are Tornqvist indexes.


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