The Whole Elephant : A Proposal for Integrating Cash, Accrual, and Sustainability-Gap Accounts

Author/Editor:

Timothy C Irwin

Publication Date:

December 10, 2015

Electronic Access:

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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:

Although the budget deficit is much discussed in political debate and economic research, there is no agreement on how it should be measured. There are at least four options, which can be called the cash deficit, the financial deficit, the full-accrual deficit, and the comprehensive deficit. Each is informative, but each has problems of relevance or reliability. Some are more vulnerable to manipulation involving assets and liabilities that are unrecognized in the underlying accounting, others to manipulation involving the mismeasurement of recognized assets and liabilities. Governments should publish all four in a form that reveals their interrelationships.

Series:

Working Paper No. 15/261

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

December 10, 2015

ISBN/ISSN:

9781513597492/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2015261

Format:

Paper

Pages:

24

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