Public finance describes finance as related to sovereign states and sub-national entities (states/provinces, counties, municipalities, etc.) and related public entities (e.g. school districts) or agencies. It usually encompasses a long-term, strategic perspective regarding investment decisions that affect public entities. These long-term, strategic periods usually encompass five or more years. Public finance is primarily concerned with:
- Identification of required expenditure of a public sector entity
- Source(s) of that entity’s revenue
- The budgeting process
- Debt issuance (municipal bonds) for public works projects
Central banks, such as the Federal Reserve System banks in the United States and Bank of England in the United Kingdom, are strong players in public finance, acting as lenders of last resort as well as strong influences on monetary and credit conditions in the economy.