This paper explains the early U.S. Department of Commerce estimates of national income and product during the 1930s and 1940s, focusing on how both economic theory and the needs of policymakers influenced the methods and concepts used. The paper explores the debate between Simon Kuznets, author of Commerce’s first estimates of national income during the Great Depression, and Milton Gilbert, author of Commerce’s first estimates of gross national product (GNP) during World War II, over the meaning and measurement of the nation’s final product.
※ 발췌 (excerpt): Introduction
( ... ... ) The history of measuring national income and product parallels the history of macroeconomic theory, as well as the history of U.S. economic policy, during most of the twentieth century. As measures of final product for the nation’s economy, national income and gross national product (GNP) each served as an essential tool for policymakers and as a window through which economists could view the workings of a complex macro economy. Monumental events, such as the Great Depression and World War II (WWII), which required immense economic data for policy and planning, shaped much of the early work on the creation of national income and product estimates in the U.S.
( ... ... ) The transition at the Department of Commerce, from its first estimates of national income in 1934 to its first estimates of gross national product (GNP) during the period 1942-1947, embodied a shift in both the underlying macroeconomic theory and the policy applications. ( ... ... )