Difference Between Public Finance and Private Finance

Difference Between Public Finance and Private Finance

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Mar 4, 2024 09:59 IST

The main difference between public finance and private finance lies in their scope, ownership, objectives, regulation, and focus. Public finance deals with government finances and the provision of public goods, while private finance focuses on individual and corporate financial management and wealth maximization. Understanding the difference between these two is crucial for individuals and businesses to make informed financial decisions. Read the article to learn more about these concepts.


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Comparison Table – Public Finance vs Private Finance

The key difference between public finance and private finance is that public finance deals with government money for the public good, while Private Finance handles personal or business finances for profit. Let us explore more such differences - 


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What is Public Finance?

Public finance is the management of public funds in a country. It studies how governments collect revenue through taxation and other methods. How they spend it for the benefit of their citizens. Public finance plays a crucial role in the economic growth of a country.

Components of Public Finance

Different components of public finance include:

  • Public Revenue Collection – Refers to the amount the government collects from the citizens through taxes, fines, charges, import duties, fees, etc.
  • Expenditure – Refers to the money governments spend on programs and services such as education, healthcare, defence, infrastructure, and social welfare.  
  • Public Debt – The money a government owes to its creditors. Governments borrow money by issuing bonds and other securities to finance their expenditures. 
  • Budgets – The budget outlines the government’s expected revenue and expenditures for a period.
  • Public Accounting – Public accounting tracks and reports government finances and ensures that government spending is transparent and accountable.
  • Public Administration – Public administration refers to managing government programs and services, implementing government policies, and ensuring effectiveness.

Functions of Public Finance

The following are the functions:

  • Public finance helps in managing income and expenditure through optimum resource utilization.
  • It contributes to managing the growth and price stability of an economy.
  • Ensuring proper public infrastructure
  • People development, thereby contributing to the nation’s development.
  • Helps to maintain policy transparency and the records of income and expenditures.
  • Compare the actual financial position of a nation with the budgets, change the policies, and allow economic management.
  • Monitor the functioning and effectiveness of the financial policy.
  • Prepare the economic policies for the country’s economic development.

What is Private Finance?

Private finance is financial planning or financial management at the individual level. It uses monetary, personal and family resources, considering future events and the associated risks. They are subject to a budget. For example, the expenditure of an individual involved in buying a car or a house for the family. 

Private finance includes managing – 

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Characteristics of Private Finance

  • The main objective of private finance is profit by increasing investors’ wealth and economic value.
  • It is based on the maximization of income and profits.
  • It involves the minimization of costs and expenses.
  • Private finances seek the efficiency of financial resources to obtain greater profitability.

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Functions of Private Finance

The functions of private finance include:

Investment: Involves making decisions like where to invest money to generate returns and build wealth over time.

Risk management: Managing financial risk through diversification, insurance, and hedging strategies.  

Financing: Obtaining financing through borrowing or equity investments.

Savings and wealth accumulation: Managing personal finances to save money, build wealth, and achieve financial goals.

Consumption and spending: Managing personal finances to balance current and future savings goals.

Similarities between Public and Private Finance

  • Public finance deals with the management of government revenue and expenditure, while private finance deals with the management of personal and business finances.
  • Public finance involves saving through taxation and investing in public goods and services. Private finance involves saving for future needs, investing to earn a return, and borrowing to finance investments or large purchases.
  • Public finance aims to achieve financial security for the nation by promoting economic growth and development, reducing poverty and inequality, and maintaining economic stability. Private finance aims to achieve financial security for individuals, households, and businesses by helping them to maximize profits, minimize costs, and grow wealth.
  • Public finance promotes economic growth and development by providing public services, funding infrastructure, and managing the economy through fiscal policy. Private finance helps businesses to invest and grow, and it helps individuals to save and invest for their future.
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Public and private finance are two distinct areas of finance with different objectives and functions. Public finance involves collecting and managing government revenue and expenditure to promote public interests. While private finance is focused on the financial activities of individuals, households, and businesses in the private sector.

Understanding the differences between public and private finance will help make informed financial decisions and promote economic growth.


What is the objective of public finance?

Public finance ensures governments have the resources to provide public goods and services. These include education, healthcare, and infrastructure, and stabilize the economy during recession or inflation.

What is the objective of private finance?

Private finance aims to help individuals and organizations achieve their financial goals, such as saving for retirement, starting a business, or investing in real estate.

What are the sources of revenue in public finance?

The sources of revenue in public finance include taxes, fees, fines, and borrowing.

What are the sources of revenue in private finance?

The sources of revenue in private finance include wages, salaries, profits, investments, and borrowing.

What are the types of expenditures in public finance?

The expenditures in public finance include capital expenditures, such as infrastructure investments, and operational expenditures, like salaries for public employees.

What are the types of expenditures in private finance?

The expenditures in private finance include consumption expenditures, such as purchasing goods and services, and investment expenditures.

What are the tools of public finance?

The tools of public finance include fiscal policy, monetary policy, and regulatory policy. Fiscal policy refers to changes in government spending and taxation. On the other hand, monetary policy refers to changes in the money supply and interest rates.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio