The Economic Account of Nonprofit Institutions Serving Households. Towards the construction of a satellite account of the Nonprofit Sector in Italy

The so called “nonprofit sector” is at the centre of the political, scientific and institutional debate, at local and international level. Despite of the multitude of surveys and studies conducted until now, the lack of official data is to be registered. Actually, international statistics provide data on Nonprofit Institutions Serving Households (NPISH), identifiable as a subset of the nonprofit sector as a whole, but their treatment in the framework of common national accounting rules and methodology is still at the beginning.

Thus the need to develop a satellite account for the nonprofit sector is felt. In Italy, the National Statistical Institute is working on the issue. First step has been building the economic account of NPISH, using both a top-down (starting from the macro-data) and a bottom-up (information on micro-data) approach. The methodology used is mixed and based also on the exploitation of already existent surveys, often focussing on specific subsets of the institutions (foundations, associations, political parties etc.). Second step will be the extension of the analysis to the nonprofit sector, including those market institutions not considered until now.

A fundamental contribution to the work will come from the First National Census on Nonprofit Organizations that ISTAT is carrying out during this year.

This paper presents some general results concerning the procedure to build the satellite account of nonprofit institutions, including approaches to definitions and classifications of the sector, the methodology to be followed, and a first quantitative assessment of the economic account of NPISH.

by Alessandro Messina and Susanna Riccioni

presented at the 
15th Voorburg Group Meeting on Service Statistics
Madrid, 18-22 September 2000