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September/October 1991, 
Vol. 73, No. 5
Posted 1991-09-01

The U.S. Balance Sheet: What Is It and What Does It Tell Us?

by Keith M. Carlson

Keith M. Carlson provides an overview of the U.S. balance sheet. He explains its basic structure and gives some examples of its usefulness in examining economic questions. One of the most important uses of the balance sheet, says Carlson, is to analyze the role of financial structure in the process of economic growth. The chief benefit of the U.S. balance sheet, as currently prepared, is that it forces the user to take a long-term perspective to detect changing economic trends.