Fifty Years of Economic Measurement
The Jubilee of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth
This volume contains papers presented at a conference in May 1988 in Washington, D.C., commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth (CRIW). The call for papers emphasized assessments of broad topics in economic measurement, both conceptual and pragmatic. The organizers desired (and succeeded in obtaining) a mix of papers that, first, illustrate the range of measurement issues that economics as a science must confront and, second, mark major milestones of CRIW accomplishment. The papers concern prices and output (Griliches, Pieper, Triplett) and also the major productive inputs, capital (Hulten) and labor (Hamermesh). Measures of saving, the source of capital accumulation, are covered in one paper (Boskin); measuring productivity, the source of much of the growth in per capita income, is reviewed in another (Jorgenson). The use of economic data in economic policy analysis and in regulation are illustrated in a review of measures of tax burden (Atrostic and Nunns) and in an analysis of the data needed for environmental regulation (Russell and Smith); the adequacy of data for policy analysis is evaluated in a roundtable discussion (chapter 12) involving four distinguished policy analysts with extensive government experience in Washington and Ottawa.