International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

TABLE II.
COMPARATIVE SOCIODEMOGRAPHIC DATA OF JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES (1993)
Japan United States
Land mass 1.0 25.0
Total population 1.0 2.0
Percentage 65 and over 13.1 12.6
GNP/population 1.3 1.0
SOURCE: derived from OECD Economic Outlook, PARIS, OECD, selected years

TABLE III.
A COMPARATIVE OF SELECTED COUNTRIES' LONG-TERM GOVERNMENT DEBET VERSUS THEIR GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT
Country Year Debt/GNP
France 1991 18.2
Germany 1992 21.0
Japan 1993 47.4
United Kingdom 1991 31.2
United States 1992 58.4
SOURCE: derived from OECD Economic Outlook, PARIS, OECD, selected years

TABLE IV.
A COMPARATIVE OF SELECTED COUNTRIES' FISCAL DEFIECITS VERSUS TOTAL EXPENDITURES
Country Year Fiscal Deficits/Total Expenditures
France 1994 19.6
Germany 1994 14.2
Japan 1993 13.9
United Kingdom 1992 16.9
United States 1994 17.4
SOURCE: derived from OECD Economic Outlook, PARIS, OECD, selected years

TABLE V.
A COMPARATIVE OF SELECTED COUNTRIES' NATIONAL INCOME TO BURDEN RATIO
SOCIAL SECURITY TAX
Country Year Contributions Burden Total
France 1988 28.0 34.1 62.1
Germany 1990 21.9 29.4 51.3
Japan 1992 12.3 25.2 37.5
United Kingdom 1990 10.3 39.9 50.2
United States 1992 10.4 26.1 36.5
SOURCE: derived from OECD Economic Outlook, PARIS, OECD, selected years

Variations of Practice in Other Countries

Before analyzing financial indicators in other countries, it is essential to understand the differences in the social culture and the organizational structure. For example, Japan has prefectures but Canada has provinces. These organizational structures could be considered similar to the 50 states in the United States, in some instances, yet in other instances, similar to counties within these states.

It is also beneficial to be aware of the different accounting methods among the countries. For example, Australia and New Zealand use a full accrual basis of accounting, but the United States and many of the other industrialized countries use variants of a modified accrual basis of accounting. Some countries that are centrally controlled, such as China, use a cash basis of accounting.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) uses the cyclically adjusted budget balance (CAB) as an indicator of fiscal policy (Blanchard 1990). The CAB was designed to reveal the impact of discretionary changes in fiscal policy on the overall actual budget balance, measure the sustainability of fiscal policy, and identify the effect of fiscal policy on aggregate demand and aggregate supply. Because of the difficulty in meeting design objectives, three indices have been suggested by the OECD to measure the impact of fiscal policy on the standard of living: (1) the index of discretionary change, (2) the medium tax gap, and (3) the adjusted deficit.

To determine if member countries meet the criteria for joining the European Economic Community (EEC), three convergence ratios are used: (1) government deficit to GDP (3%), (2) government debt to GDP (60%), and (3) inflation rate (which must not exceed the rate of the three best-performing member states by more than 1.5%).


Performance Measures

There is a movement toward the use of performance indicators with financial indicators. Performance indicators are those measures that assist in determining the level of effectiveness in accomplishing the organization's mission, but the financial indicator is a measure of its efficiency. For example, a student's score on a standardized test is a performance indicator, but the cost per student is a financial indicator.

In the United States, GASB has taken the lead to develop performance measures for governmental units at the state and local levels ( GASB 1990). At the national level, the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board has initiated a project to develop performance measures for its agencies. Much work is being done throughout the international community, with varying degrees of success, to develop performance measures ( IFAC, 1994; Buschor and Schedler, 1994).

JESSE W. HUGHES


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berne, Robert, and Richard Schramm, 1986. The Financial Analysis of Governments. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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