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Another issue is the non-market benefits of education, with strong correlations between education levels and healthy lifestyles, better parenting, and more civic engagement. The difference between them is essentially the cost of social transfers. Other examples abound across our public economy. Human capital estimates are also illuminating from other perspectives.

By spending too much of our national income on current consumption, we are eroding our asset-base for future consumption. Finally, as an example, we examine how national accounting falls short in the education sector, and we review leading ideas for improvements in this critical area. Burkhauser, Jeff Larimore, and Kosali I. The entrepreneurial class, in its quest for freedom from restrictive governmental regulation, attacked the ability of government to attend to the economic affairs of its citizens.

Yet, juxtaposed with non-market output measures for public activities, the value of government begins to look very different. Regulatory benefits are subsumed in aggregate growth and passively attributed to the workings of the free market. This was obvious in the many large areas that are subject to market failures or welfare-depleting inequalities, including public safety and health, and national security.

Yet juxtaposed with nonmarket output

The first, pioneered by John Kendrick, is an input-based, or cost-based, approach, but with a fuller accounting that includes non-market costs. This problem, too, needs to be recognized and challenged as part of a broader strategy to renew and transform our economy. At this more aggregated sectoral level, we will depend on improvements in our national accounting system. Serious poverty and racial disparities remained, of course. Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F.

Yet we are ill-equipped to measure public value in a way that is consistent with how we measure private value. Political economists took the view that business enterprise was the sole productive agency in society and that government was a passive, nonproductive, wealth-destroying organization. In general, private returns have been easier to measure and found to be larger than social returns, at least in advanced countries. In the private economy, inputs and outputs both have prices and both are measured in the national accounts. Many economists point with concern to a flattening of domestic investment in recent decades.

Regulatory benefits are subsumed in aggregate

Economic yields from public assets should not be measured as private consumption. Current trajectories of social disinvestment and expanding social risk and social costs pose serious dangers for our economy in the medium- and long-term. In one alternative accounting model, drawing on income, demographic, and educational data for the whole U.

As noted, in addition to developing reasonable output measures, such refinement means estimating and controlling for or netting out other contributions that may be conflated with educational returns. Perhaps all sides can agree, therefore, that such improvements are an important step forward in confronting our economic challenges, whatever the answers may be. In this view, big business and affluent households are considered the driving forces of prosperity, but they are victimized and weakened by taxes and regulation, causing the economy to falter. Ultimately, these considerations and the real-world challenges we face provide an urgent opportunity to take action on improving our national accounting system for the twenty-first century economy.

Thus, by the late s, the U. In a democracy, providing accurate information about the performance of our economy is a fundamental responsibility of government. It is structured by legislation, protected by public agreement, and heavily subsidized by government. Capturing the specific values generated by regulation in a national accounting framework presents many challenges, of course.