News 13 Nov 2019

Seppo Varjonen awarded the Eino H. Laurila national income medal

The Eino H. Laurila national income medal for 2019 has been granted to Seppo Varjonen, Bachelor of Political Science. The medal is granted in recognition of his extensive international work improving national accounts and promoting their application.

During the years 1969 to 1995, Seppo Varjonen worked almost continuously with national accounts at Statistics Finland. During that time, his work included, in addition to development of national accounts and especially use and supply accounts, international comparisons of gross domestic product. These were conceptual comparisons between GDP and net material product used in Eastern European countries, as well as GDP comparisons based on purchasing power parities. In 1980, Finland participated for the first time in the European GDP comparison and Mr Varjonen was responsible for the comparison concerning Finland from the start until he resigned from Statistics Finland. He also oversaw the GDP comparison of Finland and the Baltic countries as part of the European GDP comparison in 1993.  

From 1996 until his retirement, Seppo Varjonen worked in the OECD Secretariat. There his main task was, at first, to develop national accounts in countries of the former Soviet Union. Furthermore, he was responsible for the development of purchasing power parities for these countries, as well as for incorporating the GDP results based on them into the 1995 GDP comparison of the OECD and European countries. Seppo Varjonen also participated actively in the development of SNA, for which the OECD had main responsibility.  

In addition to tasks of national accounts, Seppo Varjonen developed price indices for services in cooperation with Eurostat. These are important in volume calculation of national accounts. The work resulted in the first manual intended for calculating producer price indices for business services. Mr Varjonen had primary responsibility for the compilation of this manual.

Seppo Varjonen retired in 2009, but has continued his work as an expert for international organisations making several consultation trips around the world. Most trips have concerned the development of national accounts and these trips have mainly been commissioned by the IMF. Regarding producer price indices for services, the British Commonwealth has acted as the employer.   

The Eino H. Laurila national income medal is awarded in recognition of noteworthy work to advance national economy research and particularly the development and application of economic descriptive systems, and promote knowledge about them. A further aim of the medal is to nurture interaction between economic research and practical statistical work. Decisions about awarding of the medal are made by the Ekonomiska Samfundet i Finland, the Finnish Statistical Society, the Finnish Economic Association, Statistics Finland, and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation. The first medal was awarded to Professor Eino H. Laurila in 1993 for his extensive work on the development of Finnish national accounts.

Head of Development Tuomas Rothovius, Statistics Finland, tel. +358 29 551 3360,