The International Monetary Fund called on governments to better manage state assets in order to boost their revenues and improve their ability to withstand recessions.
"Knowing what a government owns and how they can put their assets to better use matters because they can earn about 3% of GDP more in revenues each year and reduce risks, all at once," the IMF said, citing the findings in its latest Fiscal Monitor report.
In advanced economies, the 3% additional annual revenue is equivalent to what governments could earn from corporate income tax receipts, the institution noted.
Vítor Gaspar, director of the IMF's fiscal affairs department, told the Financial Times that research showed countries with stronger balance sheets pay lower interest on their debt and also experience "shorter and shallower recessions." The IMF has been pushing for governments to look at their entire balance sheet rather than focus only on borrowing and debt, which can lead to poor outcomes, the paper said.