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Terminology constitutes one of the most formidable elements of the no man's land that separates the layman and the professional user of economic and social statistics. A very important penetration of that barrier was achieved by the late William H. Chartener with the publication of the first Dictionary of Economic and Statistical Terms in 1969. His main objective was to provide a guide and a convenient reference for those who use publications, press releases, and computer tapes of the Social and Economic Statistics Administration (SESA).
He succeeded-perhaps too well, because demand was much greater than expected. The main purpose of this Second Edition is to meet the continuing demand. While the basic structure has been retained, the dictionary has been enlarged and the major revisions in balance-of-payments concepts have been taken into account.
A recent development that relates to the Commerce agencies that issue economic and social data is the formation of the Social and Economic Statistics Administration which was created January 1, 1972. SESA brings together the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The latter is a new name for the Office of Business Economics, but both agencies generally have retained their traditional functions: the Census Bureau collects, analyzes and publishes a great variety of social and economic data while BEA analyzes data from an economic viewpoint.
The idea of a Dictionary for Economic and Statistical Terms was conceived by Mr. Chartener, and, as Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs, he supervised its publication. He was particularly well qualified for that task, mainly because of his sensitivity to the needs of the non-technicians-those who develop a high confusion index when they encounter such terms as "gold tranche position" or "inventory valuation adjustment." As both an outstanding economist and an economic journalist, he also realized that lack of precision in the use of terms sometimes caused gaps in communication among his professional colleagues.
Mr. Chartener, who died in August 1970, gained a broad perspective from a wide-ranging career. He had impeccable academic credentials and for a brief period was a teacher of economics and statistics. In 1949-50 he was a writer with a Washington organization that provides articles on a wide variety of subjects for newspapers. During the Korean War, he served with the Wage Stabilization Board, and, of course, near the end of his career, in the Johnson and Nixon Administrations as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs. He learned about private industry while serving as an economist with an investment banking firm and with a publishing firm, and he further broadened his experience as a senior economist for a well-known economic research organization. He wrote one of the chapters in the book, How Business Economists Forecast (1965), and. numerous articles and speeches. He was president of the National Association of Business Economists, and the first editor of the Association's professional journal, Business Economics
His flair for presenting complex subjects in a form that could be understood by the intelligent reader made the first edition extremely valuable to knowledgeable laymen who sought basic information. At the same time it was widely used by students, professionals, and technicians as a convenient reference.
In this second edition, as in the first, accuracy has not been compromised. This publication should not be considered as an A-B-C reader in economics, statistics, demography, and related disciplines even though it can be very valuable to many persons wih limited backgrounds in those subjects. it is designed primarily for regular users of SESA data.
This edition contains a new section on Demographic and Social Terms, reflecting the greatly increased national attention that has been focused in recent years on problems associated with population. Thus, the dictionary now has five sections. Some basic definitions in the Balance of Payments section have been revised to reflect changes in balance-of-payments concepts adopted in 1971. As problems, programs, and policies change, new terms come into common use. Some of these have been included in this edition.
The Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis will gladly answer questions or supply additional information on any of the economic terms and statistical series described in this dictionary.
We earnestly hope that it is as successful as the original in the furtherance of understanding in economics and related fields.
Harold C. Passer Assistant Secretary for