Willem Buiter

Chief Economist at Citi


Citi GPS: The Public Wealth of Nations

Governments around the world have an estimated $75 trillion of dollars of public assets, ranging from corporations to forests, which are often badly managed and frequently not even accounted for on their balance sheets. Over recent decades, policy makers have focused almost solely on managing debt while largely ignoring the question of public wealth. Given that in most countries public wealth is larger than public debt, just managing it better could help to solve the debt problem while also providing the material for future economic growth. A higher return of just 1% on global public assets would add some $750 billion to public revenues. Poor management not only throws money down the drain, but also forecloses opportunities.

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Panel on Public Wealth Management

In recent decades, governments have largely focused on public debt. Public wealth, however, is largely overlooked and larger than many think. In this discussion, the panelists present on the value of public wealth – theory, balance sheets, financial statements.