The chapters in this volume have been selected by the Program Committee from among papers presented at the Eighth International Conference on Input-Output Techniques, held in August 1986 in Sapporo, Japan. Although the task of choosing a small number of presentations from the large number of submissions was not an easy one, the choice was designed to reflect both the wide geographical spread of input- output techniques as a tool for economic analysis and planning and the range of economic issues to which they have recently been applied. Thus the volume includes applications to both market and socialist economies, to economics at very different levels of development, and to problems of social policy as well as to problems that are more conventionally economic in nature.
The choice also reflects one of the major features of input-output analysis as a branch of economics--the positive interaction between the development of the underlying theoretical framework and the systematic collection and organization of the statistical data needed to ensure that the theory can be applied to the problems for which it was designed. Some of the chapters here represent that fusion of theory and data that is essential for progress in applied economics. Others either put forward new methods of analysis, and hence suggest areas where further improvements in our statistical knowledge are likely to be valuable, or describe the continuing efforts of national statistical offices to refine the data sources that underly our knowledge.
The Conference was made possible by the generous financial and organizational help of the sponsors, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the host, the University of Hokkaido. I would like, on behalf of all those who attended the Conference, to thank them both for their efforts. I would also like to thank the staff of Oxford University Press for their help with this volume.
The Conference coincided with an important milestone in the brief history of input-output analysis, the fiftieth anniversary of the publication in August 1936 of Wassily Leontief's first paper on the topic in the Review of Economic Statistics. In addition the organizers succeeded in ensuring that the Conference coincided with an equally important occasion, Professor Leontief's eightieth birthday. All those present will retain warm memories of the party that was held in honor of this event and marked the close of the Conference. The papers included in this volume show how much has been achieved by those working in the tradition Professor Leontief founded, and the authors join in hoping that he will accept the dedication of this volume as a very belated birthday present.
Cambridge, England W. P.