Economic Statistics


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Economic Statistics

 

the branch of statistical science that studies the quantitative aspect of economic processes and phenomena in the national economy in conjunction with their qualitative aspect. Unlike more specialized forms of statistics, which study economic processes in particular branches of the national economy, economic statistics studies the national economy as an integrated whole (seeSTATISTICS, INDUSTRIAL; STATISTICS, AGRICULTURAL; and STATISTICS, LABOR).

Marxist-Leninist political economy constitutes the theoretical foundation of economic statistics. Political economy investigates and identifies the most important features of social-production relations and reveals the laws governing the production and distribution of material goods; economic statistics makes use of these principles to provide a quantitative description of phenomena and processes in the national economy and shows, with the help of economic-statistical indicators, how social production is developing in a particular place and time. In V. I. Lenin’s definition, the purpose of economic statistics is to give “statistical expression” to the phenomena and laws of socioeconomic development of society (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 27, p. 206). A preliminary and comprehensive socioeconomic analysis of the phenomena under study is a major precondition for the scientific organization of economic statistics.

Economic statistics is both an integral part of statistical science and an important branch of practical activity. Although it emerged as an independent scientific discipline and a subject taught in educational institutions before the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, economic statistics underwent its greatest development after the war. In the investigation of economic processes and in the collection, processing, and analysis of statistical data, it makes extensive use of such techniques as mass statistical observation, grouping, indexing, the analysis of time series, and the balance method. Mathematicoeconomic research methods involving computers are coming to be used more widely.

In a socialist society, economic statistics is an important tool in the management and planning of the national economy. It describes the condition and development of a socialist economy, progress toward the fulfillment of national economic plans, and the way the branches of the economy are developing in relation to one another. In addition, it provides a picture of the introduction of new technology, the location of productive forces in the country, and improvements in public welfare. The most important tasks of economic statistics include the economic-statistical description of the efficiency of social production and the improvement of performance at all levels of the national economy.

In bourgeois statistics, economic statistics does not exist as an independent scientific discipline for the integrated investigation of processes and phenomena of social reproduction. The statistical literature of capitalist countries treats economic statistics as the application of general methods of statistics and mathematical statistics to the measurement of economic phenomena.

The system of indexes in economic statistics comprehensively describes economic processes and phenomena. The crucial indexes—the comprehensive, general indexes of economic development and of the growth of the people’s material prosperity—include the total social product, national income, real incomes of the population, nonproductive consumption, accumulation, national wealth and its constituent elements, and the social productivity of labor.

Statisticians dealing with particular branches of the economy-apply the general principles that have been developed by economic statistics in order to construct a system of economic indexes and a methodology for calculating them. A major division of economic statistics is the balance of the national economy of the USSR, which makes it possible to ascertain whether the economy is developing in a balanced manner.

REFERENCES

Kurs ekonomicheskoi statisliki, 5th ed. Moscow, 1975.
Ekonomicheskaia statistika, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1976.

M. R. EIDEL’MAN

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