Of the World’s top 100 economic revenue collectors, 29 are states, 71 are corporates

Oh good, researchers at the University of Amsterdam have updated the list of the world’s big hitters using 2016 figures. In the past, previous such lists offended purists because they compared apples (national GDP) with oranges (corporate revenue). This time the authors in their background paper say have tried to include only government revenue:

‘we compare the revenues of states (mainly taxes collected) with the revenues of corporations, as suggested by Jeffrey Harrod, who argued that we should see revenues (minus profits) as a “budget” of firms in analogy to governments.’

The table gives the source for those revenue figures as ‘CIA World Factbook 2017’. I’m no stats geek, but surely there are more accurate, up to date stats for government revenue – anyone care to check?

But in any case, it’s a step forward on GDP and offers a better taste of just how large the biggest transnationals have become, how their geographical mix is shifting, and raises questions about their power and ability to capture political processes. Headlines:

  • Of the top 100 revenue generators, 71 are corporations.
  • There are 14 Chinese firms in the top 100, but 27 from the US

More from the authors here

Here’s the table:





























Update: I initially missed the shift from GDP to revenues – thanks to Liam and Euan for putting me straight.

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3 Responses to “Of the World’s top 100 economic revenue collectors, 29 are states, 71 are corporates”
  1. Liam Taylor

    I don’t think they are using national GDP here in their measure for the ‘revenues’ of states. The GDP of the US, for example, is over $19 trillion, not $3 trillion as quoted here.

    Instead, according to the article that you link to, “revenues in the case of states is mostly collected taxes”.

  2. Euan Ritchie

    Just flagging, you say that the table compares national GDP to corporate revenues, but actually the comparison is between revenue raised by the state (or something) and corporate revenues. US GDP is $18 trillion or thereabouts, not $3 trillion

    (Which incidentally, possible offends purists less)

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