Definition: Economic assets

European System of Accounts (ESA)

Store of value representing the benefits accruing to the economic owner by holding or using the entity over a period of time. It is a means of carrying forward value from one accounting period to another (ESA 2010).

Entities functioning as a store of value over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units, individually or collectively, and from which economic benefits may be derived by their owners by holding them or using them over a period of time. 

The economic benefits consist of primary incomes (operating surplus by using, property income by letting others use) derived from the use of the asset and the value, including possible holding gains/losses, that could be realised by disposing of the asset or terminating it. 

Excluded from the asset boundary are: 

a) human capital; 
b) natural assets that are not economic assets (e.g. air, river water); 
c) contingent assets, which are not financial assets. 

Three categories of assets are distinguished: 

a) non-financial produced assets; 
b) non-financial non-produced assets; 
c) financial assets (ESA 1995).
Eurostat, "European System of National and Regional Accounts - ESA 2010", Luxembourg, 2013

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