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On the Treatment of Intangible Assets in National Accounting


  • Sakuma, Itsuo


The purpose of this paper is to give some suggestions on the treatment of intangible assets in national accounting. Knowledge ("World 3" in Karl Popper's term) is a sort of environment for human beings. As people more and more come to think that knowledge is an important factor for economic growth, the society comes to believe knowledge is capital. However, it is not easy to treat knowledge as capital. First of all, it is because knowledge creation is not economic production. In this paper, it is proposed that knowledge access should be focused instead. In addition, by drawing attention to striking similarities between expenditures for certain intangible fixed assets and certain work-in-progress-type expenditures, it is suggested that the concept of intangible fixed assets in the 1993SNA may be better interpreted when you consider them as a special type of work-in-progress. Finally, the treatment of intangible non-produced assets is discussed.

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  • Sakuma, Itsuo, 2008. "On the Treatment of Intangible Assets in National Accounting," Discussion Paper Series a507, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:hituec:a507
    Note: First draft 13/April/2008; Revised 7/May/2008; Revised 26/July/2008

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