September 2, 2020
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2020 Distributional National Accounts Guidelines (DINA)

The 2020 Distributional National Accounts (DINA) guidelines is the first major update of the document presenting the concepts, data sources and methods used in the World Inequality Database.

In recent years, the WIL has been leading efforts in creating “distributional national accounts.” The goal is to provide estimates of the distribution of income and wealth that are harmonized over time and across countries, to be comparable. They are also consistent with the macroeconomic aggregates produced by national statistical institutes. Therefore, they can be viewed as a distributional extension of the existing international System of National Accounts (SNA).

What is new in the 2020 Distributional National Accounts Guidelines?

Compared to the 2016 guidelines, these new ones have been extended with new and revised material. They have also been reorganized for clarity, with a clear separation between the concepts and the methods:

  • The first part deals with the theoretical conceptualization of income and wealth, the definition of the different subcomponents of income and wealth, and how they should be distributed to individuals.
  • The second part focuses on practical methods, on how to deal with the different types of data.


  • Chapter 1 deals with general issues, which are separate from the concepts of income and wealth themselves: the definition of the statistical unit, price indexes, currency conversion factors, etc. It has been extended with a discussion on how to convert monetary series both over time and between countries in the WID, which was originally included in a separate technical note by Blanchet (2017).
  • Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the conceptual definitions of income and wealth, respectively. Chapter 2, in particular, has been significantly revised to provide a more pedagogical exposition of income accounts, and a clearer explanation of what they imply for inequality measurement.
  • Chapter 4 explains how we construct the aggregate income and wealth series in the WID. It is a significantly revised and extended version of the technical note originally written by Blanchet and Chancel (2016).
  • Chapters 5 and 6 detail how to estimate DINA series for income and wealth, respectively, in countries for which the data situation is relatively good. Chapter 7 deal with the same issues in countries with much more limited data.
  • Chapter 8 discusses how we create estimates of global inequality based on the data available in the WID.
  • Chapter 9 presents the indicators of data quality and transparency that are present in the WID. You can check our online Inequality transparency index.

>> Clear here to read the paper


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