Page images

Quarterly Local Area Personal Income.- Quarterly estimates of personal income for standard metropolitan statistical areas and counties (now estimated annually) should be developed. These measures would provide up-to-date information on the economic health and tax base of the major labor market areas of the Nation. They would aid in formulating Federal and State policies for stabilizing local area economies.

Study Commission for Regional Economic Accounts.-As these few projects show, the evolution of an integrated set of regional accounts has major ramifications for economic analysis and policymaking and the future development of the Federal Statistical System. The Joint Economic Committee in The 1976 Joint Economic Report recommended that a commission be established to conduct a broad study of the need for regional economic information. Although professional conferences and government reports have indicated the need for better regional information, these needs have not been examined systematically by independent study groups with the stature of those that have focused on the national economic accounts, balance of payments, price and labor force statistics. (The recently established National Commission on Employment and Unemployment Statistics will look at regional information needs, but only for regional labor force data.)

understanding and analytic usefulness of the measures of international economic transactions.

As noted previously, the GNP Data Improvement Project included recommendations for improving the data base of the balance of payments accounts. The following recommendations are for further enhancing these accounts for economic analysis and policymaking.

Balance of Payments Methodology and Statistical Supplement.— The publication of an up-10-date handbook of the methodology used in preparing the balance of payments estimates and a statistical supplement of a consistent time series of balance of payments estimates over the post-World War II period should be provided. Appropriate use of statistics requires an understanding of how the data are constructed, including data sources, estimating techniques, and limitations. The user of statistics should also have available a consistent up-to-date time series of data over a period of years.

The last balance of payments methodology handbook was issued in the early 1950's; this was updated by the publication of brief explanatory notes in 1971. The last consistent time series of balance of payments statistics was published in the early 1960's. In the years since these publications, a number of significant developments have occurred in methodology and the statistical series, such as new data sources, estimating methods, and statistical presentations. These have not been published or are available only in widely scattered documents. A new methodology handbook and statistical supplement is long overdue.

Projections of the Balance of Payments Accounts.Systematic procedures should be developed for preparing short-term (1 to 2 years) and medium term (5 to 10 years) projections of the balance of payments accounts. Short-term projections presently are developed every quarter to provide a reference for economic policymaking in the context of relationships between the U.S. and world economies. The projections are based on judgmental extrapolations of recent trends and anticipated changes in the major factors thought to influence these movements. They require a more disciplined method for analyzing the determinants of the component items, including econometric techniques and special analytic studies. In addition, a longer term outlook for international economic transactions would provide the framework for evaluating the prospective impact of alternative policies that require a longer time frame for implementation and are independent of factors which are considered to be of temporary significance.

The Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards should establish a commission to study and evaluate the further development of the regional economic accounts. The study should include the conceptual aspects and data base requirements of accounts. The commission should be composed of outstanding scholars in the fields of regional economics and planning

International Economic Accounts

Statistical measures of the balance of payments accounts and international investment provide the overall framework for analyses of the impact of exports and imports of goods and services and of foreign investments at home and abroad on jobs and purchasing power in the U.S. economy. Such analyses are used in determining the need for fiscal and monetary policies affecting the domestic and international sectors of the economy, negotiating international trade agreements, assessing the effect on currency values of international confidence in dealing with inflation, developing programs for international coordination of energy sharing and development, and evaluating tax and other policies affecting multinational companies. These issues require continuous attention to the reliability, public

Program To Be Evaluated

of the program is to provide updated tables by 4 years

after the reference year. As mentioned earlier, BEA has engaged in a relatively new program to prepare annual updates of The data used to update the 1-0 tables are derived the quinquennial input-output benchmark tables. from annual statistics of the Internal Revenue The purpose is to provide the many users of I-O data Service, annual surveys such as the Census Bureau's with more timely information than is available under Annual Survey of Manufacturers, and data from the quinquennial 1-O program. The rationale for the regulatory agencies, trade associations, etc. Because updates is that significant changes in the input

these data are mainly limited to statistical aggregates coefficients sometimes occur over relatively short of industry output and value added, there is a heavy periods due to changes in technology, prices, prod

reliance on the detailed structural relationships of the uct mix, etc. Discerning such changes and their most recent quinquennial benchmark table in statistical impact on the components of final demand preparing the annual updated 1-0 tables. (i.e. GNP) more quickly would alert users of 1-O to

An evaluation of the annual input-output program changes in economic relationships requiring

should be made after the 1972 benchmark and annual adjustments in the applications of the data. In addition, the annual 1-O data are used in two ways for

tables are completed. Particular attention should be preparing the GNP estimates: (a) by providing an

given to the costs and benefits of the program with early indication of potential revisions in the

respect to its usefulness for updating the input forthcoming quinquennial GNP benchmark which

coefficients and developing more reliable estimates of could be partially incorporated in the estimates in

the GNP and its component detail. The latter should in

clude alternative vehicles for improving the reliability of advance of the benchmark, and (b) for estimating

the GNP measures stemming from strengthening the detailed GNP components for inter- and post benchmark years.

underlying data as specified in the report of the GNP

Data Improvement Project. The evaluation should Annual tables have been prepared for the years recommend whether the program be continued, 1961, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971. The objective modified or discontinued.

Responsibility for the collection of program specific data is spread throughout the various components of the Office of Education, including the Bureau of School Systems, the Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, the Bureau of Postsecondary Education and the Bureau of Occupational and Adult Education. In addition, the Office of Planning, Budgeting, and Evaluation (OPBE) within the Office of Education is responsible for the collection of information required to evaluate the effectiveness of specific Federal education programs in terms of their impact on the educational system. OPBE also prepares a comprehensive annual evaluation report on federally supported education programs.

The National Institute of Education (NIE), the third major component of the Education Division, is responsible for research on long-range issues in education. To meet this objective, NIE employs a variety of strategies, including the collection and analysis of data specific to the development, testing and implementation of new education techniques, services, and delivery mechanisms. In addition, NIE shares with NCES and OE the responsibility for meeting the requirements of certain congressionally mandated studies.

A number of other Federal agencies responsible for the administration of programs affecting the educational system gather and use data to measure the impact and effectiveness of activities under their purview. Such programs include, on the one hand, regulatory activities of the Office for Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which are designed to ensure equal access to educational services and equal opportunity for employees of the educational system and, on the other hand, grant programs which provide funds for the delivery of specified services to students. In the latter category, examples include the school breakfast and lunch programs of the Department of Agriculture; the Headstart program of the DHEW Office of Child Development; support for schools on Indian reservations of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior; the institutional certification programs of the Veterans



Education statistics encompass a broad range of data collection, analysis, and utilization activities. A commensurate number of Federal agencies' are involved in varying degrees in the development and use of statistics concerning: the condition of education in the Nation; the analysis of current education practices and delivery systems; the funding, management and evaluation of federally supported education programs; and the development of new techniques, services, and support systems for the U. S. educational system.

Responsible Agencies The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the general-purpose Federal statistical agency responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating statistics about education. NCES is charged with the tasks of producing baseline statistics, and of analyzing and presenting these data to describe the condition of education in the United States. Although primary analysis, including tabulation of data and preparation of descriptive narrative, is conducted within NCES, the specific task of policy interpretation of the information collected rests with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education, and with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW).

The Office of Education (OE) has primary responsibility for accumulating information on the administration and impact of federally supported programs. These data comprise a substantial portion of the education statistics obtained through current Federal information collection activities.

'Although a number of private organizations and associations produce national education data (eg. College Entrance Examination Board-data on intelligence and achievement of high school senior applicants to college and college senior applicants to graduate school; American Council on Education-longitudinal data on college students; and National Educational Associationdata on teacher characteristics), the discussion in this paper focuses on the federally sponsored education statistics programs.

Administration; and various educational programs sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Science Foundation are used by the National Science Board, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and other agencies responsible for policy concerning the direction of national science and technology efforts.

Finally, there are at the present time certain general-purpose education statistics gathered by agencies outside the Education Division. The Bureau of the Census collects elementary and secondary school system financial statistics as part of the census of governments. It also collects statistics on school enrollment and educational attainment in the decennial census, as well as in the October and May Current Population Surveys. Data on support of graduate science and engineering students and postdoctorals, on academic employment and characteristics of scientists and engineers, and on academic research and development activities are collected by the National Science Foundation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics gathers information on manpower as well as on certain aspects of vocational education. Data on the intelligence and achievement of children aged 6-17 years are collected in the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, and statistics on health education institutions and students are collected by the Bureau of Health Manpower.

On the legislative side, general statistics as well as program specific information are used by Members and staff of the Congress to assess current programs, to draft new or revised legislation, and to modify administration proposals. Congressional committees which make use of these data include: the Committee on Education and Labor of the House (including the Subcommittees on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education; Select Education; Postsecondary Education and Equal Opportunities); the House Appropriations CommitteeSubcommittee on Labor-Health, Education, and Welfare; the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare-Subcommittee on Education; and the Senate Committee on AppropriationsSubcommittee on Labor; Health, Education, and Welfare. The Congressional Budget Office uses federally developed education statistics to plan expenditures, while the General Accounting Office uses such information to evaluate the effects of specific legislation, such as the impact of a tax deduction for college expenses.

Major User Groups Federal education statistics, which have evolved over an extended period in response to a wide variety of needs, have been developed primarily to serve users at the Federal/national level. The general statistical program of NCES provides recurring information on the finances, students, staff, and facilities involved in or devoted to the education.of the Nation's youth and adults. More recently initiated longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have contributed to developing an understanding of the progress and achievement of students in the educational system. These base line data are complemented by information made available from the program and evaluation offices dealing with the impact and effectiveness of specific Federal initiatives.

In addition to the numerous Federal Government users, there are many national associations whose members regularly employ data gathered through the Federal Statistical System as a basis for assessing the current status of educational services and recommending legislative or programmatic changes. Although the list is far too long to cite in its entirety, some key examples will serve to illustrate the scope and nature of these organizations. Major organizational users include the National Education Association, the American Council on Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, the Research Council of the Great City Schools, the Association of American Universities, the Council of Graduate Schools, the Association for Institutional Research, and the Council for American Private Education.

On the executive side, both base line and program statistics are used by policy analysts and program developers within the Education Division and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation to determine the size of various populations to be served, recommend alternative programs for the financing of the educational system and tuition support for individuals, and assess changes in the population which may affect the education delivery system. Data collected by the National

Representatives of these groups have demonstrated increasing interest in working with the National Center for Education Statistics to ensure that priority needs for data are incorporated into the Federal Statistical System, both to improve the information available, and to eliminate the need for the associations to seek statistics independently, at the cost of duplicating Federal efforts.

« PreviousContinue »