James L. Chan

James L. ChanJames L. Chan is Professor Emeritus of Accounting at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has held visiting appointments at ten American, Asian and European universities, including a Distinguished Overseas Professorship in the School of Economics, Peking University (2011-2016). A former financial management advisor to the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and China’s Ministry of Finance, among others, he has written extensively on government accounting, and fiscal reporting and analysis. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1976.

Papers Published in World Economics:

How Accurate Are the National Balance Sheets for China?
Author: James L. Chan

The accuracy of data on China’s national balance sheets has attracted much less attention than that of the Gross Domestic Product reports. China’s Bureau of National Statistics has not released official national balance sheets, but two Chinese research teams have produced estimates for recent years. A detailed analysis of these reports by the author reveals varying degrees of discrepancies for the whole Chinese economy and its components, and for different types of assets and liabilities. The System of National Accounts was claimed by researchers as a common framework, but non-standard classifications and disclosures of assets and liabilities from diverse data sources mean that many issues must be resolved before China’s wealth can be measured accurately.

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How Much Red Ink?

Under the influence of economics, fiscal policy and government budgets focus on projected cash deficits and bonds issued to finance them. While these numbers are certainly necessary, they overlook the delayed costs of policy decisions and actions. Therefore they should be complemented by actual cash deficit, actual accrual deficit and total liability numbers. Data from the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. Government during the past decade are used to show how much a difference the lapse of time and the accrual method made to the common measures of perceived fiscal realities. It is argued that accrual accounting numbers unveil the severity and important aspects of the fiscal problems facing the United States.

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