BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly Review 2018/43

The International Monetary Fund seeks to clarify the interpretation of the figure of 70 % it published in 2014. That is the ratio of the income of the government sector and public sector firms to GDP. This is not the same thing as their share of GDP, as it is often misinterpreted.

The IMF has now calculated their share of GDP to be one-third. In the economy’s market-based block, the estimate is based on their share of income. In blocks where the income formation of firms and organisations is not market-based, it is based on their share of workers. The calculation includes the subsidiaries of the 20 largest state-owned enterprises (excl. banks) in Russia. The one-third share is estimated for 2016, but according to the calculations it was practically the same in 2012.

The IMF emphasises that the negative effects of public sector firms within the economy can be wider than suggested by their nominal GDP share, e.g. through excessive concentration and the lack of competition in some branches, lack of transparency in procurements of the government or SOEs, as well as preferred treatment through easier access to financing.

Researchers at the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration and the Gaidar Institute published their own assessments of the public sector’s contribution to GDP earlier this year. The government sector’s share of GDP appears in Rosstat’s GDP figures as just under 20 %, and this applies to this entire decade. SOEs are not included in Russia’s GDP figures. The rough estimates of researchers put the share of GDP of SEOs and a few state corporations and the government’s largest commercial institutions at over a quarter of GDP. This is based on a two-step calculation. In the first step, over 100 SOEs and the above-mentioned state corporations and businesses are found to generate about 12 % of the corporate sector’s revenues. The second step assumes rather boldly that the ratio of value added to income estimated using the financial statements of Gazprom and Rosneft is equally applicable to all other SOEs.

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