Journal of Statistical and Econometric Methods

Are United Kingdom expenditure data well-behaved?

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  • Abstract

    Data users are aware that early estimates of Gross Domestic Product are likely to be revised as later vintages of the same data are published. This article analyses revisions to the expenditure measure of GDP and its main components in the UK, using a longer sample than previous studies which incorporates a number of economic cycles. I find that the revisions process is affected by cyclical factors and frequent structural breaks often resulting from the ad-hoc way important methodological changes are introduced to the National Accounts. Therefore care should be taken when using patterns and trends in past data to predict future revisions as empirical relationships tend to break down in longer samples.