Another Look at Governments’ Balance Sheets : The Role of Nonfinancial Assets

Author/Editor:

Andrea Schaechter ; Elva Bova ; Kara C Rideout ; Robert Dippelsman

Publication Date:

May 2, 2013

Electronic Access:

Free Full text (PDF file size is 1216 KB).Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

When discussing debt reduction strategies, little attention has been given to the role of governments’ nonfinancial assets. This is in part because data are scarce. Drawing on various data sources, this paper looks at the size, composition, and management of state-owned nonfinancial assets across 32 economies, with particular focus on the advanced G-20 economies. We find that reported nonfinancial assets comprise mostly structures (such as roads and buildings) and,when valued, land. These assets have increased over time, mostly due to higher property and commodity prices, and are, in large part, owned by subnational governments. Many countries have launched reforms with a view to streamlining public administrations, but receipts and savings have been rather small so far. Governments tend to consider relatively small sets of assets to be disposable, though preferences could change in the future. A potential source for future revenues could be greater reliance on user charges, such as road tolls. In most cases, a first step for more effective asset management has to be the expansion and improvement of data compilation.

Series:

Working Paper No. 13/95

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

May 2, 2013

ISBN/ISSN:

9781484315453/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2013095

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

44

Please address any questions about this title to publications@imf.org