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Box 5.1

Different types of statistical units

The institutional unit is an economic entity that is capable, in its own right, of owning assets, incurring liabilities and engaging in economic activities and transactions with other entities. Two main types of units may qualify as institutional units: persons or groups of persons in the form of households, and legal or social entities.

An enterprise is an institutional unit in its capacity as a producer of goods and services. An enterprise is an economic transactor with autonomy in respect of financial and investment decision-making, as well as authority and responsibility for allocating resources for the production of goods and services. Enterprises under the control of the same owner form an enterprise group to achieve economic advantages, such as economies of scale, control of a wider market and an increase in domestic productivity through more effective business management.

An establishment is an enterprise or part of an enterprise that is situated in a single location and in which only a single productive activity is carried out or in which the principal productive activity accounts for most of the value added. Note that the 2008 SNA also defines industries in terms of establishments.

There are two other statistical units that are often referred to in data sources relevant for statistics on the international supply of services: A kind-of-activity unit is an enterprise or part of an enterprise that engages in only one kind of productive activity or in which the principal productive activity accounts for most of the value added; and a local unit, which is defined as an enterprise or a part of an enterprise (for example, a workshop, factory, warehouse, office, mine or depot) that engages in productive activity at or from one location.

Sources: 2008 SNA and International Recommendations for Industrial Statistics (IRIS) 2008.

 

Next: B.4. Creation and maintenance of a statistical business register

 

 


[1] See International Recommendations for Industrial Statistics 2008 (IRIS 2008), Statistical Papers, Series M, No. 90  (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.08.XVII.8), para. 2.15.

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