One of CNSTAT’s long-standing goals is the improvement of economic measurement and crucial data sources for that measurement. At What Price? Conceptualizing and Measuring Cost-of-Living and Price Indexes examined the foundations for consumer price indexes, comparing the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of traditional “fixed basket” and cost-of-living-based approaches. Beyond the Market: Designing Nonmarket Accounts for the United States discussed how to extend the accounting principles that underlie the measurement of gross domestic product to develop broader measures of how well we are doing as a nation—how to design accounts in such areas as health, education, home production, and environmental improvement (or pollution) that can help us better understand economic growth and income determination. Accounting for Health and Healthcare continues this line of work, focusing on the costs of and returns from medical care and other “inputs” to population health, conceptualized within an economic accounting framework. Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education presents an analytically well-defined concept of productivity in higher education and, while recognizing the great difficulty of doing so, offers practical guidelines for its measurement.
CNSTAT studies have also examined the unique data issues involved when businesses or firms are the unit of measurement. Understanding Business Dynamics explored available data on the births, deaths, expansions, and contractions of firms and establishments. CNSTAT studies have explored portions of the recurring Economic Census, including a review of the state and local governments program of the Census Bureau’s economic programs directorate.
CNSTAT, working with the Committee on Population (CPOP), is beginning a study on the economic, labor market, and fiscal impacts of immigration. The expert panel will address questions about the impacts of immigration on living standards and the macro economy; wages and income of U.S. natives and immigrants, and for different education, skill, and occupation groups; budgets and fiscal health at the federal, state and local levels; and inter-governmental fiscal dynamics (e.g., the distribution of the budget impact across federal, state, and local entities). A CPOP companion study will investigate the integration of immigrants into American communities.