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So, anyone who took an intro course in micro or macro probably ran into some sort of equation somewhere talking about output being a function of capital and labor, say Y = F(K,L). In the macro sense, this is usually taken to mean Y = total output of an economy, K = total capital in the economy, L = the size of the total labor force.
Empirically, there are pretty obvious ways to estimate Y and L; typically, we estimate Y by measuring real GDP (at least when talking about a national economy), and L by measuring the work force, or even just by approximating by saying it's some percentage of total population. K is a different story.
My question is: when viewing a national economy, what would be the best way to estimate capital stock? If you look at the BEA's account of real GDP, there's a subheading of "Gross private domestic investment." Would that be it? What does that actually measure?