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Conceptual revision and main structural changes


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9 Pages


In 1997, the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC)2 was tested by the arrival of the new, highly innovative North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).3 The newcomer made ISIC and the classifications that refer to it-most notably NACE in Europe and NAF in France-seem obsolete. These classifications had to be thoroughly revised in 2007-2008. However, ISIC's core principles, adopted in the early 1990s, have proved highly robust. They have been not only preserved but strengthened. By contrast, the ISIC structure was completely redesigned, with substantial room now assigned to new technologies, information-related activities, and service activities in general. Given their close ties to the classifications of activities, the EU and French classifications of products have also been entirely restructured and their scope enlarged. The CPC structure, which is unrelated to the ISIC structure, has not been revised.



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Conceptual revision and main structural
! Michel Lacroix and Marie-Madeleine Fuger*
2In 1997, the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) was tested by the arrival
3of the new, highly innovative North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The newcomer made ISIC
and the classifications that refer to it—most notably NACE in Europe and NAF in France—seem obsolete. These
classifications had to be thoroughly revised in 2007-2008. However, ISIC’s core principles, adopted in the early 1990s,
have proved highly robust. They have been not only preserved but strengthened. By contrast, the ISIC structure was
completely redesigned, with substantial room now assigned to new technologies, information-related activities, and
service activities in general. Given their close ties to the classifications of activities, the EU and French classifications of
products have also been entirely restructured and their scope enlarged. The CPC structure, which is unrelated to the
ISIC structure, has not been revised.
Conceptual revision
he discussions on the revision of Tconcepts often pitted the vision
underlying ISIc and n Ace against
the approach that characterizes
the n orth American Industry
c lassification System (n AIc S). In
this confrontation, the ISIc vision
substantially prevailed, thanks in
particular to forceful support from
eU countries. The basic principles
of ISIc have been largely preserved,
indeed strengthened, and the n AIc S
principles have been turned down.
However, in the final stage of the
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
revision process, during 2007, the
classification of principals (French:
donneurs d’ordre) came under the
spotlight with the U.n.’s adoption of a
The U.n. would have been rather
new classification rule based on input * Michel Lacroix and Marie-Madeleine Fuger favorable to the n orth American
are on the staff of the classifications Division ownership (Box 1).
position. Indeed, neither nAIcS in In See ’s Statistical c oordination and
International Relations Directorate.nor ISIc is bound by the activities-
1. o riginally published as “Révision des The general definition of an products linkage. Absent that concepts et principaux changements de
economic activity is preserved structure,” Courrier des statistiques (French constraint, it therefore makes sense
series), no. 125, nov.-Dec. 2008, pp. 45-53,
to emphasize a process-oriented
The earlier versions of ISIc, nAce, approach in the activity classification 2. For the full names of the main abbreviations,
4and nAF defined an economic activity see the verso side of the loose sheet inserted in and to develop another approach in
this issue of Courrier des statistiques.
as a “combination of resources to the product classification. The north 3. nAIcS is the classification developed for use
produce specific goods or services.” in nAFTA. The first version dates from 1997. It Americans have accordingly prepared
is revised every five years. Unlike nAce, nAIcS every activity is characterized by a product classification, nAPcS, is not nested in ISIc and so does not need to
an input of resources, a production which is entirely focused on product conform to ISIc principles and structure.
4. The revision 2007-2008 concerns ISIc, process, and an output of products use and markets.
nAce, and nAF for activities and cPc, cPA,
(goods or services). nAIcS takes a and cPF for products. Later in this article, when
the revisions involve all three levels equally, only different approach, which, in principle, The U.n. asked countries whether
the international level will be mentioned; we
centers exclusively on the production the ISIc principle should be adjusted
shall refer to the eU and French levels only if it
process. for convergence toward the nAIcS is useful to do so.
courrier des statistiques, english series no. 15, 2009 45
Source: north American Industry classification System (nAIcS)Michel Lacroix and Marie-Madeleine Fuger
approach. The eU remained rather the downstream activity. In the employees, wages, and sales
firmly committed to maintaining the 2007-2008 revision, the U.n. generally (turnover). It draws attention to the
recommends conventions that classify fact that these “proxies” should yield combination of the three criteria in
under the upstream activity.order to keep the activities-products a structure of activities as similar as
linkage. possible to the structure that would
The arbitrariness of these conventions result from detailed value added. But
and the endless discussions on their In the end, ISIc Rev. 2 preserved nAce does not mandate a particular
adoption made the eU countries tilt the general definition of economic method, for the issue has more to do
in favor of strict enforcement of the activity. As a compromise between with the distribution of units—and
value-added rule and so in favor of the two approaches, the introduction thus with the management of registers
abandoning conventions and replacing to ISIc, reproduced in nAce and or surveys—than with classification in
them by the use of “proxies.”nAF, notes that the weight assigned the strict sense.
to each criterion varies from one
one example that came under It is still necessary to preserve a division to another, and that, as a
particularly intensive discussion consistent rule for classifying units rule, the prevailing criterion cannot
illustrates this problem of classification at all aggregation levels of the be determined. By contrast, at the
classification (“up and down” method: detailed levels (classes or sub-classes),
see box in article by Pinel) as well activities are grouped together when
as a rule for distinguishing between they feature a common process for
specialized and non-specialized the production of goods or services,
wholesale/retail trade.using similar technologies.
ISIC, NACE, and NAF remain The principle of classifying
classifications of activities units by principal activity is
and not classifications of unitsstrengthened
In the ISIc approach, the first step
ISIc reasserts the general principle
in constructing a classification of
that a unit is classified according to
activities is to build a partition of
its principal economic activity, i.e., the
all economic activities. The process
one that contributes the largest share
is therefore a prerequisite to the
of the unit’s value added.
classification of legal or statistical
units. The items of the classification
However, in most cases, the
are the boxes in which the units will
breakdown of a unit’s value added NAICS logo later be placed.
by detailed activity is not available.
This problem can be solved by the The nAIcS approach is different.
use of classification conventions and/ conventions. When nAce Rev. 1 and, When, in a given field, units commonly
or a value-added “proxy.” The earlier therefore, nAF were implemented in organize themselves in the same way
versions of the activity classifications 1993, France had chosen to classify by combining several basic activities,
used both methods simultaneously. under “construction” all enterprises the result is a cross-sectional class
The discussions leading up to the that install door and window frames that can combine activities already
2007-2008 revision saw a clash between and structures that they had fabricated described at basic level.
two positions. The first, defended by themselves. In nAce, the opposite
the U.n ., argued that the conventions convention prevailed. As a result, This difference in principles is blurred
should be maintained; the second, all the other eU countries invariably in reality. In most cases, nAIcS
championed by the eU countries, was classified this type of enterprise under classes remain classes defining
that they should be eliminated. “manufacturing.” In the 2003 revision, individual activities. conversely, ISIc
France was obliged to comply with the allows a few exceptions to the strict
The advantage of using conventions eU rule but asked for the classification partition of activities. For instance,
is that it makes methods uniform and convention to be abandoned, in the “Growing of crops combined with
therefore strengthens consistency the next revision, in favor of the farming of animals (mixed farming)”
among national practices. This general rule that enterprises should class was kept despite the existence
assumes, however, that countries can be classified under principal activity. of other, separate classes for “growing
agree on the choice of conventions! This was obtained in the 2007-2008 of crops” and “farming of animals.”
revision, not without difficulty and
For example, the convention in the More generally, nAF Rev. 2 seeks to despite the U.n.’s strong reluctance.
2003 versions of nAce and nAF name activities without referring to the
was that vertically integrated multiple The new n Ace describes various type of units that engage in them. The
activities should be classified under “proxies” such as number of classification also avoids descriptions
Source: north American Industry classification System (nAIcS)conceptual revision and main structural changes
Box 1: A new rule for classifying principals based on input ownership
The issue of how to classify principals merchandise trade based on the by industrial services “in XX.XX.99
5and (sub)contractors in manufacturing tracking of merchandise ownership. form,” which was, in principle, solely
In the principal-(sub)contractor intended for partial (sub)contracting. is not new. expert opinions on the
matter have always been impassioned association, the actual producer of The change was introduced via the
the material product is no longer the explanatory notes.and often divergent.
unit that converts it physically but the Both the EU and international In earlier versions of ISIc and nAce, it
unit that owns the product or owns approaches to classifications of had already been agreed that principals
the main material inputs that compose activities and products implemented who subcontract all their production
it. In this approach, if the principal in 2007-2008 therefore yield a without participating in it should be
owns the material inputs, it therefore situation that seems, at first glance, classified under wholesale/retail
produces the good. The (sub)contractor, paradoxical: the manufacturer activities. conversely, units that, while
while having supplied the labor and of a good that does not own the subcontracting all their production,
equipment, is regarded as a producer material inputs is not the producer participate in it should remain classified
of an industrial service. Reciprocally, of that good, and, symmetrically, the under manufacturing.
the (sub)contractor that owns the producer is not the manufacturer.What triggers controversy is the material inputs produces a good, and
The new rule also seems fraught definition of that participation. ISIc the principal consequently produces
with consequences for production Rev. 3.1 emphasized the need for the a wholesale/retail trade service. To
classifications and surveys and for the principal to play a major role in product sum up, in a principal-(sub)contractor
preparation of production indices. Until design or—in the industrial sphere—to partnership, the owner of the material
now, the Prodcom list has been solely own the material inputs. By contrast, inputs produces a good, while the
defined as a list of material products nAce Rev. 1.1 used only the first partner that does not own the material
and excludes industrial services criterion, which translates into the need inputs produces either an industrial
coded XX.XX.99. As long as these to hold legal rights to the products. service, if the unit is a (sub)contractor,
services denoted basic operations in
or a wholesale/retail trade service, if the opinions diverged so sharply that
the production process, the situation
unit is a principal.experts preferred to forget the issue. was not too problematic. Henceforth,
But it was revived, rather unexpectedly, Given this convergence of viewpoints, to obey the new rule and ensure
at the time of the adoption of the new the discussion between classification international consistency, industrial
nAce. experts was fairly short. The U.n . production should be measured only
office obtained the adoption of the new early 2007 saw an exceptional conjunction from the material production performed
classification rule.of revisions of methodological manuals by units that own their inputs,
supervised by the U.n . Statistical The first effect will be a shift in the whether the units are principals or
c ommission: revision of the national respective weights of manufacturing (sub)contractors.
accounts (Sn A 93 Rev. 1); revision of the and wholesale/retail trade. This new rule increases consistency with
Balance of Payments Manual (BMP 6); The new classification rule for principals other tools of economic analysis such
revision of the recommendations on has also led to a change in cPA. But as national accounts and the balance
International Merchandise Trade the revision process was too advanced of payments. The price of this greater
Statistics (IMTS Rev. 2). to allow the creation of new headings. It consistency is a more conceptual, less
All these manuals recommend a was therefore necessary to broaden to intuitive vision of economic activities
revision of the method for recording total (sub)contracting the field covered and products.
of categories that make overly and cPA makes it easier to collect which emphasized a market-oriented
explicit reference to specializations or production data by product in industry approach. The north American choice
occupations. surveys as well as to determine the was therefore radically different—at
different activities performed by a least in its principles—from that of
single unit. Hence it is easier to the eU. The north Americans believe Activities-products linkage
that the supply-centered concept determine the principal activity, preserved at EU level
is the most relevant for an activity and to move between sectors and
classification and the demand-industries or between production A core principle of the eU network of
centered approach is the one best and value added. Moreover, in classifications is the linkage between
suited to a product classification. the nAce-cPA combination, the the activity classification and the
nAIcS and nAPcS are viewed as two greater level of detail in the product product classification. This involves
independent systems.classification refines and enhances not merely a conversion table, as is the
the description of classes in the case between ISIc and cPc, but an
identical structure by activity of origin, activity classification.
barring a handful of exceptions.
5. This box discusses the issue of classifying When the 2008 revision began, the
principals only with regard to manufacturing. For
For europe, and notably for France, n orth Americans were building a
approaches used in other activity sectors, see the
the close linkage between n Ace new product classification, nAPcS, introduction to the nAF-cPF publication.
courrier des statistiques, english series no. 15, 2009 47Michel Lacroix and Marie-Madeleine Fuger
by the delay in preparing cPc. nAce
was consequently adopted before
cPA was completed. When the time
came to incorporate into cPA the
many micro-changes often due to the
abrupt importing of nAIcS explanatory
notes into ISIc, it was realized that
these changes were incompatible with
cPc and even more so with customs
7classifications. n ormally, the only
solution to avoid such inconsistencies
would have been to rework ISIc and
nAce. This was done only on the
margins, in the explanatory notes.
Some minor inconsistencies between
nAce and cPA therefore persist.
Another impact is the deterioration of
the cPA-cn correspondence table.
While the activities-products link
was given precedence at eU level,
Telephone call centers
a few exceptions endure, particularly
in cases where several activities
produce the same good. In such
From the start of the revision, it was able to revise the two classifications instances, it was necessary to adopt
clear that the eU would maintain the separately. It was not obliged to a special coding in cPA to link the
principle of an identical structure for transpose ISIc changes to cPc.
products not to activity classes
activities and products. For cPc, The latter thus underwent a far
but directly to divisions. examples
the choice was slightly less clear. lighter revision than cPA. Being less
include agriculture and animal
When the U.n. conducted a survey constrained by the cPc revision, the
farming, fishing and aquaculture,
regarding a possible revision of the U.n. gave precedence to the ISIc
the manufacture of furniture, and
6cPc structure, the proposal did not revision.
retail trade. These exceptions are
meet with much success. The status
described in the introduction to the
At eU level, the constraint is very quo prevailed, particularly given the
nAF-cPF publication. one issue that
strong, for cPA is the centerpiece difficulty of choosing between two
proved especially challenging was
of a dual correspondence. on the legitimate but hardly compatible
the activities-products linkage in the
one hand, it must respect the basic approaches. The U.n . therefore
construction sector.“building blocks” of the eU customs decided to postpone a total cPc
classification (cn), i.e., it must not have redesign until further notice.
several sub-categories corresponding CPC and CPA now cover a wider
The identical structure of nAce and to the same building block in cn. on scope of products
cPA creates major constraints but the other hand, it must be fully linked
imparts strong coherence to the full The cPc revision was more modest to nAce.
network of economic classifications—a than the ISIc revision, and the cPc
characteristic not found anywhere structure has not been modified While this dual correspondence is
else—as well as significant practical feasible in most cases, it is sometimes for the time being. For goods, the
advantages to which europeans are impossible and therefore requires cPc revision was based on the HS
very attached. statisticians to prioritize either the customs revision, completed in 2004
nAce-cPA link or the cPA-cn link. In and implemented in 2007; for services,
Because ISIc and cPc structures the past, the cPA-cn link was viewed the changes reflected those made in
obey different criteria, the U.n. was as more important. The 2007-2008 the extended Balance of Payments
revision generally gave precedence to Services classification (eBoPS).
6. cPc basic building blocks are linked to the nAce-cPA link.
the activity of origin by a correspondence The description of certain products
table. The table accepts multiple links. A cPc
was also revised or enhanced at the The difference in approach is product may therefore be linked to several ISIc
activities. nAce and cPA prohibit such dual behest of international organizations: unavoidable between the economic
correspondences. The cPc and ISIc structures
classifications—which the revision IcT goods (oecD proposal for are totally independent.
7. o wing to the reclassification of many has sought to make more consistent— classification of IcT goods),
products to preserve the link with nAce, an
and the customs classifications. The agricultural and food products (FAo
indivisible building block in cn could find itself
linked to several cPA units. resulting difficulties were amplified proposal intended to better meet the
Source: Wikipediaconceptual revision and main structural changes
needs of developing countries), and
tourism services (WTo proposals).
Lastly, some extensions reflected the
need for comprehensive coverage of
all products of producing activities.
Two categories were the focus of
particularly detailed discussions:
(1) content and related services;
(2) waste.
• Content and related services
The introduction of these products
in cPc and cPA, or their fuller
description, attests to a new
8approach to their identification. The
approach is still under construction.
Some of the products possess all
the attributes of tangible goods, but
Waste incinerator, Saint-Ouen (France)their materiality is secondary or even
o ne type of content consists of
works, and the originals of films and here, we can divide “waste” into
published products. Most published
television programs. Their common three categories:
products were already described in
characteristic is that they can be cPc and cPA because they were
– The first consists of products covered by property rights in the form recorded on a physical medium and
generated by the economic activity of a registered trademark, license, so described in HS or cn. The 2003
of goods-producing units (agriculture, patent or copyright.revision introduced new “online”
mining and quarrying, manufacturing).
products. At the time, they were
These products are not actually The new c Pc introduces license
regarded as services because of their
“waste” but by-products inseparable services for the use of products of non-physicality and thus classified
from the goods-producing activity. intellectual property. each original with computer services instead of
They are therefore classified with the content is thus associated with a
publishing, like all published content
goods-producing activity from which rental service for the rights linked
recorded on a physical medium. In 10they originate.to the content. The classification 9the new cPA, the type of physical
includes rental services for patents,
medium or even its very existence
– The second comprises products brands, franchises, or products become secondary. “online” products
derived from waste collection but not subject to copyright. These services are grouped with publishing pr
generated by a specific economic complement all the rental and the classification now contains
activity. Until collection, “waste” has no for durable tangible goods already “online” sub-categories for all types
economic reality and is not described described in cPc.of published products. For example,
in cPA. It is the fact of being collected
“online” software and downloadable
that makes the product economically
• Wastesoftware are classified next to software
significant and entails its description in
on physical media.
the classification. The waste collected
The introduction of “waste” products
is therefore recorded in cPA under
on a more systematic basis in c Pc “originals” form a second type of
waste-collection activities (38.11Z
requires, in order to code them in content. Before the revision, c Pc
and 38.12Z).
cPA, an identification of the waste-described only originals on physical
producing activities. The term media. They are now systematically
“waste” is vague and imprecise. It classified in specific categories. They
8. For example, Sn A 93 Rev. 1 refers to
covers several types of products are of highly varied kinds, and they three types of products: goods, services, and
governed by different classification “knowledge[-]capturing products” (KcPs).are found in different parts of the
9. As the cPc structure has not been revised, principles. there should have been classification. The main types include
“online” products are classified under services
a complete analysis of all the types brands, franchises, architectural whereas “packaged” products are in the goods
section. But the cPc-ISIc correspondence table of “waste” whose inclusion in the blueprints and drawings, research
associates all these products with “publishing”
plans, information on geological product classification was sought, activity.
10. The use of the term “waste” to designate deposits, formulas, product and but this work was not done—
these products has led, in some cases, to their
process innovations, original designs, hence a certain confusion. Without
reclassification with waste-collection products.
original software, literary and art conducting a detailed investigation This error should be corrected at eU level.
courrier des statistiques, english series no. 15, 2009 49
Source: WikipediaMichel Lacroix and Marie-Madeleine Fuger
(divisions and groups), detailed levels sets: published content, IcT goods,
(classes and sub-classes), and the and IcT services.
explanatory notes with a great many
The main discussions centered on reclassifications of basic activities.
how to organize the three sets. France Ultimately, the new ISIc structure
alone defended a structure based on has moved far closer to the nAIcS
a clear separation between production structure. But the convergence
of published content and prprocess has not been taken to its
of tools (the term “pipelines” was logical conclusion. Unlike nAce,
used at the time), whether these nAIcS remains autonomous and is
consisted of goods or services. The not nested in ISIc.
French arguments carried little weight
in the face of the position defended
New cross-sectional “Information
by the U.n. and eurostat.
and communication” grouping
“Environmental” activities better The key change is unquestionably the
describedcreation of section J, “Information and
communication,” with its associated
The new section e, “Production and new division 26, “Manufacture of
distribution of water; purification, computer, electronic, and optical
Construction site, Angoulême (France) waste management, and pollution products.”
remediation,” attests to a concern
with the environment. France These new groupings give coherence
– The third consists of what made a major contribution to the to activities hitherto scattered across
classification jargon calls creation of this section in ISIc. All its the classification according to largely
“secondary raw materials.” They 11 component activities were scattered obsolete criteria. There were many
are derived from the recovery among different headings of the discussions—often animated—prior
process, which comprises an initial classification, in both industry and to adoption of the groupings. By
phase of dismantling of wrecks, services. The innovation consists in and large, their boundaries and
designed to obtain homogeneous bringing together water distribution structure were taken directly from
materials, followed by a second and treatment on the one hand, n AIc S Section 51, “Information,”
phase of mechanical or chemical and waste recovery and treatment and Division 334, “c omputer and
processing of these materials. In on the other. The new section also electronic product manufacturing.”
this case as well, the term “waste” is allows more room for the description
debatable. These products are now and identification of all pollution-The originality and strength of nAIcS
identified by specific codes under remediation activities.is to have given, as early as 1997, an
the “sorted materials recovery”
operational definition of information
activity (38.32Z).
activities and related activities at Installation, repair, and
a time when the dissemination of maintenance activities
information was undergoing a massive identifiedMain structural changes expansion in industrial terms, with
major economic implications. The Before the 2007-2008 revision, the only even more than the changes in
concept of “publishing” in the broad categories defined separately were principles, the novelty of the 2007-2008
sense lies at the heart of the definition motor-vehicle repairs and domestic-revision is the sweeping structural
of the information sector. To publish is goods repairs. The repair and transformation—a deliberate choice,
make intellectual content universally installation of durable goods were not made from the outset.
accessible. Section J and division 26 distinguished from the production of
will therefore encompass all activities these goods within the manufacturing The decision was driven by three
allowing the dissemination of content: industry. This approach to repairs was main objectives: closer convergence
production of published content suitable for most european countries with nAIcS, better identification of
(books, software, television programs, as industrial repairs, in europe, are new technologies and their products,
films, and so on) and production of the often performed by the producing and fuller coverage of services. The
tools needed for the dissemination. units.revision affects the superstructure
The tools consist of either physical (sections), intermediate levels
goods (production of audiovisual, The north Americans took a different
telephone, and computer equipment) view. They argued that most
11. In the 2002-2003 revision, publishing was or services (telecommunications industrial repairs are performed
still linked to the “wood, paper, and printing”
and Internet services). Products are by specialized units, and that this
industry and telecommunications were still
linked to transportation. therefore grouped into three principal would be increasingly the case in the
Source: Wikipediaconceptual revision and main structural changes
Wind turbines: a new technology
future. Moreover, they believed that concerning the maintenance and It also entailed the risk of classifying
the repair process differs from the repair of capital goods are now complex cross-sectional services
manufacturing process. identified by a division but will remain that combine basic activities already
described in other ISIc categories. classified under the manufacturing
The n orth American position was The discussions and the need to industry, and the division combining
supported by the developing countries, reduce the total number of divisions trade and repair of motor vehicles is
which held that amalgamating 12 have led to more relevant groupings. maintained.
manufacture and repair into a single The most interesting innovation is
category gave a misleading image the breakup of former division 74,
Service activities described of their industrial sectors. The other “other business activities,” into two
in greater detail
major developed countries (Australia new sections. High-skilled activities
and Japan) were also rather favorable supplying high-level intellectual
one of the U.n.’s priorities was to
to a better identification of repairs. services are grouped into section M,
make more room for service activities.
“Specialized, scientific, and technical
That was achieved by breaking up Despite the eU countries’ strong activities,” whereas activities of a
former section K, “Real estate, renting, reluctance, the U.n. proposed the more operational type, supporting
and business activities.”creation of a section combining all businesses’ routine activity, are
repairs at the higher level of the gathered in section n, “Administrative
Former section K and its 5 divisions classification. The most unfortunate and supporting service activities.” This
are replaced by 3 new sections and consequence was the breakup and partition is a fairly accurate reflection
14 divisions. This increase is partly hence the elimination of the “Trade and of the groupings that France had
artificial, as many classes and groups 13repair of motor vehicles” division. defined in neS.
have merely moved up one rank in the
hierarchy of levels by becoming either But the firmness of the eU countries—
12. By contrast, there was a consensus for
groups or divisions. The initial draft, which had obtained the explicit establishing a division of services combining
strongly influenced by nAIcS, called for the repair of computers and of personal and support of the Statistical Programme
domestic goods.
c ommittee (SPc )—allowed a a large number of divisions with rather
13. ne S is described elsewhere (article by
compromise solution. Activities ill-defined content and boundaries. Madinier).
courrier des statistiques, english series no. 15, 2009 51
Source: WikipediaMichel Lacroix and Marie-Madeleine Fuger
– Health and social work “Transport” section as a specific form Some sections heavily
restructured of transport dedicated to postal mail.
This section now comprises three
– construction divisions instead of a single one, using – Agricultural activities, fishing, and
a structure strongly inspired by nAIcS aquaculture
of the established sections of the old and sometimes hard to transpose to
activity classification, the one that has The eU had insisted on a revision of national level. The eU, and France in
been most thoroughly revamped is F, the sections describing agricultural particular, have tried unsuccessfully
“construction.” activities, but did not obtain the to obtain a less detailed breakdown
expected result. eU countries find it in ISIc so that each country could
To begin with, it has been enlarged create its own sub-classes reflecting hard to use the activity classification
to include real-estate development, its national organization. in the agricultural sector because
previously classified with real-estate farm holdings often engage in multiple
services (section K). Until this revision, For example, the new structure activities and are thus ill-suited to
ISIc and nAce treated developers distinguishes between “residential being classified by principal activity.
differently. ISIc viewed them as nursing care” and “residential care,” Agricultural experts are accustomed
“principals” in the construction sector. translated in French as hébergement to a classification that is closer to the
It therefore already classified them médicalisé and hébergement actual structure of farm holdings: the
in “construction.” nAce, instead, social respectively. The boundary o TeX classification. With France’s
regarded them as providers of real- between the two classes is very aid, eurostat had developed a draft
estate services. tenuous and does not correspond based on oTeX but heavily simplified.
to a habitual segmentation for this The proposal had apparently passed
As ISIc did not change its position, type of unit in France. Similarly, the all the validation hurdles and had been
nAce was obliged to adapt, which new classification draws a sharp introduced into the ISIc draft. But the
seems a rather positive development. distinction between mental disability FAo submitted an alternative draft
The nature of development activities and physical disability. Again, that based on a highly detailed product
was rather ill-defined in most european does not match the French approach approach that did not, however,
countries. The reclassification of and organization. preserve compatibility with oTeX.
these activities as “construction,”
The FAo text was more attuned to
plus the introduction of construction We should also note that veterinary international needs regarding the
structures in the product classification, activities have been excluded description of agricultural products.
yielded a description of the activity from the health field—against the It was adopted almost without
shared by all european countries. opinion of eU countries—and are discussion as a replacement of the
Henceforth, developers are treated
now classified under scientific and eU draft.
as the “principals” of construction-
technical activities.
industry units. They are therefore the
The new classification also describes
producers of the structures, whereas
fishing and aquaculture activities in
– Transport activitiesconstruction-industry units are clearly
far more detail; in both cases, it
identified as producers of construction
separates maritime and fresh-water In the old classification, the main work.
activities.criterion for segmentation of transport
activities was the means of transport. The “c onstruction” section was
For a long time, experts hesitated Brand new sub-classes in heavily revised as well. Previously,
to replace it with a passenger/ services and many micro-the activities were described in the
freight segmentation and eventually changes in manufacturinglogical order of tasks (site preparation,
gave up. The importance of the construction of building and civil-
passenger/freight segmentation, Some of the new sub-classes were engineering structures, installation
however, has been recognized and generated simply by splitting an old work, and finishing work), and it was
introduced systematically as a second class into two or three sub-classes. fairly difficult to separate building from
segmentation criterion for each means others are more innovative and reflect public works. now, that separation is
of transport. the expansion of new activities poorly the main organizational criterion, with
one division for building construction identified in the old classification
The transfer of telecommunications and another for civil-engineering and often barely mentioned in the
to the new “Information and explanatory notes.work.
communication” section eliminated
In manufacturing, besides the two A third division consists of specialized the old section comprising transport
activities (notably installation and and communication activities. important changes mentioned earlier
finishing work) that cannot be linked As a result, postal activities found (new divisions for electronic products
univocally to buildings or public themselves homeless. They have and for repair and installation), the
works. therefore been incorporated into the new structure resembles the previous
52conceptual revision and main structural changes
one, but abundant micro-changes However, its failure to take new
have been made in the explanatory activities sufficiently into account Box 2: Examples of new sub-
classes in NAF Rev. 2notes, often imported too summarily made it rapidly obsolete.
from nAIcS via ISIc.
10.85Z Manufacture of prepared
The 2007-2008 revision was stimulated
meals and dishes
While often relevant, these micro- by the launch of nAIcS in 1997. It has 38.31Z Dismantling of wrecks
changes are sometimes ill-advised adopted a far more modern structure 39.00Z Remediation activities and
as they needlessly clutter the allowing a better identification of other waste management services
58.21Z Publishing of computer correspondence table between the new, fast-growing activities while
gamesold and new classifications. preserving the conceptual choices of
63.12Z Web portals
1993 and making them more flexible.
66.21Z Risks and damage
It is impossible to mention all the micro- It has not explicitly introduced evaluation
changes here. For a detailed list, see major conceptual changes. But it 72.11Z Research and
the correspondence table between attests to a reconsideration of the experimental development on
the old and new classifications of traditional separation between goods biotechnology
activities available on www.insee.fr. 81.10Z combined facilities and services—a process that is still
support activitiesincomplete and finding its way.
81.30Z Landscape service
Some of these advances have been Conclusion 82.11Z combined office
put into practice—for example, a fresh administrative service activities
The 1993 revision was innovative, approach to industrial services and 86.21Z General medical practice
as it allowed the application of a “content products.” others, such as a activities
set of robust concepts at ISIc level. “sales of services” activity, proved to 90.01Z Performing arts
At eU level, it made it possible to be too innovative to be included into
implement the activities-products the current revision but will probably
linkage based on activities of origin. be the focus of the next one. n
courrier des statistiques, english series no. 15, 2009 53