Annex C. Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG)

Developed by the OECD, the Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) classifies government expenditure data from the System of National Accounts by the purpose for which the funds are used. As Table C.1 illustrates, first-level COFOG splits expenditure data into ten “functional” groups or sub-sectors of expenditures (such as economic affairs, education and social protection), and second-level COFOG further splits each first-level group into up to nine sub-groups. First-level COFOG data are available for 33 out of the 37 OECD countries (according to time series availability), while second-level COFOG data are usually available for OECD European countries plus Australia, Colombia, Israel and Japan.1


← 1. First-level COFOG expenditures data are not available for Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey. Until recently, second level COFOG data were available in some national statistical offices, but were not collected by international organisations. Moreover, the second-level COFOG data were not always fully comparable among countries because the SNA/UN guide and the International Monetary Fund Manual on Government Finance Statistics did not provide much practical information on the application of COFOG concepts. However, in 2005, Eurostat established a task force on guidance on the application of COFOG to national account expenditure data and to discuss the collection of second-level COFOG data for European countries. Second-level COFOG data are not available for several OECD non-European countries, except Australia, Colombia, Israel and Japan. In addition, these data are available only for selected COFOG divisions in some countries. Efforts are underway to reach agreement with these countries about the submission of these data to the OECD.

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