Generational Accounting

Definition of 'Generational Accounting'


An accounting method that considers how current fiscal policies affect future generations. Generational accounting analyzes whether government spending and tax programs that benefit current members of society will produce an unfair tax obligation for future generations. The purpose of this accounting style is to achieve generational balance, where current and future generations have equivalent lifetime net tax rates, which allows for fiscal sustainability.

Investopedia explains 'Generational Accounting'


The government's tax programs and fiscal policy can be adjusted to provide more care and benefits for certain members of a country's population. However, focusing programs on a specific group forces other generations to pay the costs, essentially imposing a taxation without representation. For example, spending on retirement programs for the elderly requires that younger generations foot the bill.

This concept can be extended to future generations. Let's say the government were to lavishly spend on programs to benefit its current population in the short term. The debt obligations could be so large, that they could not be repaid by the current population in an average lifetime. In this case, the debt would be passed on to the next generation of citizens, who must then pay for benefits they never received. Generational accounting aims to eliminate policies that negatively impact future generations.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Yield Burning

    The illegal practice of underwriters marking up the prices on bonds for the purpose of reducing the yield on the bond. This practice, referred to as "burning the yield," is done after the bond is placed in escrow for an investor who is awaiting repayment.
  2. Marginal Analysis

    An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions. Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.
  3. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  4. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  5. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  6. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
Trading Center