This discussion will focus on one of the most central yet overlooked areas of public finance: the importance of a public sector balance sheet in managing public wealth. The October 2018 edition of the Fiscal Monitor, one of the IMF’s flagship publications, argues that public wealth can best be managed through a public sector balance sheet (PSBS) that provides a comprehensive picture of all of the assets and liabilities that a government owns and owes, and broadens the scope of analysis beyond public sector debt and fiscal deficits. The Fiscal Monitor presents a new database that shows comprehensive estimates of public sector assets and liabilities for a broad sample of 31 countries, covering 61 percent of the global economy, and provides tools to analyze and manage public wealth.
For investors in sovereigns, public corporations, and public financial institutions, the PSBS sheds light on the interlinkages across the public sector, including central government guarantees, and identifies contingent liabilities and assets. For governments, better public sector balance sheet analysis under accrual accounting standards allows for improved fiscal policy and management, better asset and liability management, and greater transparency and accountability.
We host three of the world’s experts on this issue. The IMF’s Alexander Tieman will give a presentation on the PSBS approach, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session.
Willem H. Buiter Ph.D., CBE, FBA, Special Economic Adviser, Citigroup
Kenneth Rogoff, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Alexander F. Tieman, Deputy Division Chief, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund
Fergus J. McCormick, Director of Sovereign Research, Emerging Markets Investors Alliance