IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Public Sector Accounting - An Interdisciplinary Field Involving Accounting, Economics, and Jurisprudence


  • Ryosuke Tao

    (Research Fellow, Institute of Administrative Management)


Public sector accounting has recently been improved. Currently, there are requirements to disclose stock information in addition to the flow information presented in budget statements or accounts statements. Public sectors have prepared and disclosed their financial statements (including balance sheets and income statements) based on business accounting approaches. Moreover, as a matter of policy, the government tends to prepare and disclose cost information along with the financial statements for the individual ministries and governmental agencies. The objectives of clarifying the fiscal conditions in a state through the preparation and disclosure of financial statements are to fulfill the state fs accountability to its citizenry and market participants and to optimize and enhance the efficiency of its fiscal activities. Most importantly, the improved information should contribute to democratic decisions on public finance. A perspective different from the business accounting is that public sector accounting places more emphasis on inter-generational fairness. With respect to the inter-generational benefits and burdens, however, various factors must be considered, and the differences between assets and liabilities in the balance sheet may not be the indicators for that purpose. Public sector accounting is considered to have been developed based on the business accounting approach. As such, the objective of the accounting is to retrospectively review how assets and liabilities have changed as a result of past public finance operations. Yet, in considering compelling public finance conditions, there is a need to discuss and consider expected perspectives, in order to clarify what resources will remain in the future by incorporating the aspect of future cash flows (this paper views this as a mixture of accounting thought and economic thought). It is important to recognize that both perspectives are commingled. If the forecast perspective is highlighted, the assets in the balance sheet should include taxation rights that give rise to future tax revenue. Another useful practice, from the perspective of information disclosure, is to prepare an individual balance sheet, in addition to a comprehensive financial statement, for each significant political agenda (e.g., public pension obligations). Public sector accounting has been developed without implementing a necessary legal basis. The effects of this reform may be a matter of not much interest without infringing any democratic control of public finance under cash basis accounting. The focus for public finance, however, has certainly been transferring from flow to stock and from the aspect of political decision to the aspect of administration. The role of public sector accounting should be clarified in conjunction with the various systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryosuke Tao, 2012. "Public Sector Accounting - An Interdisciplinary Field Involving Accounting, Economics, and Jurisprudence," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 8(1), pages 45-66, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mof:journl:ppr015c

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Paul Schultz, T., 1987. "Fertility and investments in human capital : Estimates of the consequence of imperfect fertility control in Malaysia," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 163-184.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    4. Nakamura, Jiro & Ueda, Atsuko, 1999. "On the Determinants of Career Interruption by Childbirth among Married Women in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 73-89, March.
    5. Schultz, Theodore W, 1973. "The Value of Children: An Economic Perspective," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 2-13, Part II, .
    6. Barro, Robert J & Becker, Gary S, 1989. "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 481-501, March.
    7. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 14-64, Part II, .
    8. M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), 1997. "Handbook of Population and Family Economics," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    9. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    10. Cristino R. Arroyo & Junsen Zhang, 1997. "Dynamic microeconomic models of fertility choice: A survey," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(1), pages 23-65.
    11. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 11-26, Part II, .
    12. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, January.
    13. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 299-351 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
    15. van Groezen, Bas & Leers, Theo & Meijdam, Lex, 2003. "Social security and endogenous fertility: pensions and child allowances as siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 233-251, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mof:journl:ppr015c. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Policy Research Institute). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.