General government revenue and expenditure
Updated: 8 September 2023
Next update: 8 December 2023
About the statistics
The statistics provide information on expenditure in the central and local government sectors, broken down by expenditure type and function. It also shows how revenue is generated, such as taxes, fees, user payments, interest and dividends.
See Definitions in government finance statistics for definitions of variables and other concepts used in government finance statistics.
National accounting standards
The statistics are based on the guidelines for financial accounting in the national accounting standards System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA 2008) and European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010), as well as the IMF's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 (GFSM 2014).
Each institutional sector comprises institutional units with broadly similar behaviour. The institutional units are grouped into mutually exclusive institutional sectors on the basis of economic activity, organizational structure and ownership. Institutional units are autonomous entities that are capable, in their own right, of owning assets, incurring liabilities and engaging in economic activities and in transactions with other entities. In most cases, the institutional unit is identical to the legal unit or persons or groups of persons in the form of households.
The institutional sector classification in the financial accounts is based on the recommendations of the SNA 2008 and ESA 2010.
Classification of expenditure by function
Grouping of expenditure by function or purpose is based on the UN's Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG).
Name: General government revenue and expenditure
Topic: Public sector
Division for Public Finance
National level only.
Preliminary annual figures are released in March after the end of the reference period. Updated figures are released in June and in September. Quarterly figures are released approximately 75-80 days after the end of the reference period.
Collected and revised data are stored securely by Statistics Norway in compliance with applicable legislation on data processing.
Statistics Norway can grant access to the source data (de-identified or anonymised microdata) on which the statistics are based, for researchers and public authorities for the purposes of preparing statistical results and analyses. Access can be granted upon application and subject to conditions. Refer to the details about this at Access to data from Statistics Norway.
The purpose of the statistics is to provide long time series for revenue and expenditure in general government based on the international guidelines for national accounts and government finance statistics. Further, Norway is obliged to compile and report such statistics to EU’s statistical organization – Eurostat.
There are comparable figures from 1978 to the present.
General government revenue and expenditure is part of the national accounting system, which is important for analyzing the economic development. Statistics Norway's macroeconomic models are largely based on national accounts statistics. Other users are Norges Bank, the Ministry of Finance, research institutes and media.
The statistics can, among other things, contribute to describe the total size and composition of the general government and its impact on overall demand and supply, investments and tax burden. In addition, it can be used to compare general government in Norway and other countries.
In principle, the statistics are incorporated directly into the national accounts. General government revenue and expenditure can be found in central and local government tables in the non financial sector accounts.
The budgetary central government fiscal account is published annually and quarterly. These figures are based on the Ministry of Finance’s own definitions, which deviates from the definitions used in the national accounts and government finance statistics. In addition, annual municipal accounts and county authority accounts are published according to the definitions in the Local government act.
The statistics are developed, produced and disseminated pursuant to Act no. 32 of 21 June 2019 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway (the Statistics Act).
The statistics are part of the national program for official statistics 2021-2023, main area Public finances.
The population includes the institutional sector general government, as it is defined in the international guidelines. This sector consists of all government units and all non-market institutions that are controlled by central or local government units. Market based non-financial and financial corporations owned by government are not included.
The principal administrative register used is the budgetary central government fiscal account collected from The Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management. This covers a number of government units such as the Parliament, all ministries, directorates, the Norwegian Armed Forces, police and prison services, law courts, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service and the National Insurance Scheme. Data can also be downloaded from statsregnskapet.no.
Public hospitals, as well as the Government Pension Fund, transmit financial statements directly to Statistics Norway.
Other extra-budgetary accounts, such as financial statements from public universities and university colleges public, research institutes, pension funds are collected from statsregnskapet.no.
Government controlled cultural institutions and various public funds are collected individually – from the respective units’ webpage or by special agreement.
Municipalities, county authorities, municipal companies (KF/FKF), inter-municipal companies (IKS) and joint parish councils are obliged to submit financial statements directly to Statistics Norway, via KOSTRA.
Government expenditures related to research and development are estimated on the basis of statistics on R&D in the university and college sector and R&D in the institute sector.
In principle, all accounts are included. In practice some minor accounts are not collected.
The classification of transactions in government finance statistics are based on information in the collected datasets. These datasets contain a classification of transactions by type. Taxes, fees and charges, interest revenue and dividends are all examples of revenue types – while wages and salaries, interest expense, transfers to other sectors and acquisitions of fixed assets are examples of expenditure types. In addition, most accounts contain a classification by function or chapter that gives details regarding the various purposes of government spending – health, education, culture, etc.
Controls consist mainly of checking that the accounts are in balance (i.e. that expenditures equal revenues plus financing). The individual accounts from public hospitals, municipalities, county authorities and joint parish councils are subject to a number of automatic checks when they are reported electronically to Statistics Norway. Remaining checks are done on a macro level and based on the applied characteristics.
When quarterly and preliminary annual figures are released, not all data sources are available. As a consequence, these releases are to some degree based on estimations.
No seasonal adjustments are made.
Employees of Statistics Norway have a duty of confidentiality.
Statistics Norway does not publish figures if there is a risk of the respondent’s contribution being identified. This means that, as a general rule, figures are not published if fewer than three units form the basis of a cell in a table or if the contribution of one or two respondents constitutes a very large part of the cell total.
Statistics Norway can make exceptions to the general rule if deemed necessary to meet the requirements of the EEA agreement, if the respondent is a public authority, if the respondent has consented to this, or when the information disclosed is openly accessible to the public.
More information can be found on Statistics Norway’s website under Methods in official statistics, in the ‘Confidentiality’ section.
There are comparable figures from 1978 to the present.
Government finance statistics are compiled in the same way, and according to the same framework, every year to ensure comparability over time. One tries to avoid substantial breaks in the time series by carrying out any large changes in connection with retroactive revisions.
For the central government minor breaks may occur, since the fiscal account's chart of accounts is often adjusted through resolutions in the Parliament. Breaks in the time series occur relatively seldom for the local government accounts, since the chart of accounts is established by the Local Government Act.
When quarterly and preliminary annual figures are, not all data sources are available. As a consequence, these releases are to some degree based on estimations.
For some revenue and expenditure items the specifications in the administrative registries or submitted financial statements are not good enough to satisfy the international requirements for detailing level. In addition, the chart of accounts is not always adhered to well enough.
In connection with the collected financial statements the respondents may sometimes misunderstand the questionnaires. In addition, errors can be made by Statistics Norway with regards to the classification of transactions by type or function.
When final figures are released, all accounts and other data sources are normally available and will replace preliminary figures and estimations. Taxes from the petroleum industry and gross acquisitions of fixed assets are among the items that, under normal circumstances, are revised the most from preliminary to final release.