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Definition: Classification of the functions of government

SNA 1993

The classification of the functions of government (COFOG) is a classification used to identify the socio-economic objectives of current transactions, capital outlays and acquisition of financial assets by general government and its sub-sectors.

COFOG is part of a set of classifications of the functions of expenditure, also known as "functional" classifications and which have formed part of the System of National Accounts (SNA) since 1968.

"Functional" classifications are designed to classify certain transactions of producers and of three institutional sectors, namely household, general government and non-profit institutions serving households. They are described as "functional" classifications because they identify the "functions" - in the sense of "purposes" or "objectives" - for which these groups of transactors engage in certain transactions. 

The classifications concerned are: 
- Classification of individual consumption by purpose (COICOP), 
- Classification of the functions of government (COFOG), 
- Classification of the purposes of non-profit institutions serving households (COPNI) and, 
- Classification of outlays of producers by purpose (COPP).
United Nations, "System of National Accounts (SNA) 1993", United Nations, New York, 1993, § 18.9