Social accounts are essentially quantitative frameworks for analyzing economic cycles and trends. A number of years ago such measures as national income accounts, interindustry tables, and money flow accounts, although differing in format, were constructed for subnational regions in a manner that was analogous to accounts at the national level. This is the first book to deal with regional social accounting in an advanced manner. It proposes to use these systems partly as a device for measuring change, partly as a system for forecasting, but mainly as a framework for political analysis. The authors tackle major problems that confront regional economists, regional development policies within both a national and a multiregional structure.
At the national level social accounts are used primarily for analyzing short-term cyclical movements: they do not include detailed information on stocks of human and physical capital. At the regional level, however, it is necessary to analyze policies for building various facilities and improving human resources, and to develop regional accounts systems that can be made consistent and comparable that can be expanded to include physical and human capital. The authors of this study have attempted to identify and discuss the various issues involved in building such systems, to describe in building such systems, to describe the theoretical difficulties and data collection problems that would arise, and to discover how these might be resolved. The book does not blueprint an actual project; instead it is a handbook of regional accounting principles that could well be used to prepare an operating manual for the building of regional accounts by a wide variety of agencies and individuals.
Concern for the regional dimensions of economic development can be generated effectively by overt and purposeful national policies; however, in the absence of a unified national approach, many groups will be building systems for particular regions. This book spans the needs of a wide array of these groups: the economic analysis and data collection parts of federal agencies engaged in regional development as well as regional, state, and local planning agencies; scholars whose work on the regional development process would be served very importantly by construction of the kind of system the book describes; and finally, as the work is sufficiently general, those foreign groups that are involved in building analytical systems and providing information for regional development policy.
This is the ninth volume in the M.I.T. Regional Science Studies Series.