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A critique of GERS : government expenditure and revenue in Scotland

Cuthbert, Jim and Cuthbert, Margaret (1998) A critique of GERS : government expenditure and revenue in Scotland. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 24 (1). pp. 49-58. ISSN 0306-7866

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Abstract

This paper represents a critique of the government's published report on "Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland", (commonly referred to as GERS). There are, in fact, two levels at which such a critique might be approached. The first is primarily philosophical, and would be concerned with fundamental questions such as "what is the purpose of a GERS exercise and how relevant are the results to different time periods or constitutional arrangements?" The second is concerned primarily with practical issues: notably the adequacy of the methodology used and the accuracy of data sources. In the main, this paper deals with the second level of approach, although we return briefly in the final section to consider more philosophical issues.