Unlocking Public Wealth

Author:Dag Detter and Stefan Fölster
Pages:44-47
SUMMARY

Governments could do a better job managing their assets

 
FREE EXCERPT
N
ational and local governments own a
potential gold mine of assets, mostly in
the form of real estate and government-
owned companies. With better governance,
many of these assets —such as outdated build-
ings, undeveloped land, browneld spaces, and
air rights— could generate value and a revenue
stream to fund government budgets, lower taxes,
or pay for vital infrast ructure. Unfortunately, most
opportunities for better public wealth governa nce
have been lost in the debate over state ownership
versus privatization.
Consider a city like Boston, which by its own
accounting does not appear to be particularly
wealthy. e city reported total assets worth
$3.8 billion in 2014, of which $1.4 billion is in real
estate. e city’s liabilities of $4.6 billion exceed
its assets, but this va luation largely underestimates
Governments could do a better job managing their assets
Dag Detter and Stefan Fölster
UNLOCKING
Public Wealth
44 FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT | March 2018

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