National accounts or national account systems (NAS) are the implementation of complete and consistent accounting techniques for measuring the economic activity of a nation. These include detailed underlying measures that rely on double-entry accounting. By design, such accounting makes the totals on both sides of an account equal even though they each measure different characteristics, for example production and the income from it. As a method, the subject is termed national accounting or, more generally, social accounting. Stated otherwise, national accounts as systems may be distinguished from the economic data associated with those systems. While sharing many common principles with business accounting, national accounts are based on economic concepts. One conceptual construct for representing flows of all economic transactions that take place in an economy is a social accounting matrix with accounts in each respective row-column entry.
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|National accounts is included in the JEL classification codes as JEL: C82 and JEL:E01|
National accounting has developed in tandem with macroeconomics from the 1930s with its relation of aggregate demand to total output through interaction of such broad expenditure categories as consumption and investment. Economic data from national accounts are also used for empirical analysis of economic growth and development.