Definition: Social accounting matrix


A social accounting matrix (SAM) is a presentation of the SNA in matrix terms that permits the incorporation of extra details of special interest. To date, builders of SAMs have exploited the flexibility to highlight special interests and concerns such as disaggregating the household sector to show the link between income generation and consumption. The power of a SAM, as well as of the SNA, comes from choosing the appropriate type of disaggregation to study the topic of interest. In addition to a flexible application, SAMs may incorporate more extensive adjustments, which are of a satellite accounting nature, in order to serve specific analytical purposes (SNA 2008, § 2.164).

A social accounting matrix (SAM) is a means of presenting the SNA accounts in a matrix which elaborates the linkages between a supply and use table and institutional sector accounts; a typical focus of a SAM on the role of people in the economy may be reflected by, among other things, extra breakdowns of the household sector and a disaggregated representation of labour markets (i.e., distinguishing various categories of employed persons) (SNA 1993, § 20.4).
European Commission (Eurostat), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations (Statistics Division), World Bank, "System of National Accounts 2008", United Nations, New York, 2009

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