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Net Public Social Expenditure


Author Info

  • Willem Adema
  • Marcel Einerhand
  • Bengt Eklind
  • Jorgen Lotz
  • Mark Pearson


The OECD Social Expenditure data base (SOCX) allows the monitoring of trends in aggregate social expenditure and changes in its composition. But aggregate social expenditure may sometimes fail to reflect the true ‘effort’ of a country in providing social support. Account needs to be taken of the effects of tax systems and transfers which, although mandatory, are not paid by government. In order to get from a “gross” to a “net” concept of social expenditure various adjustments to raw data are needed. These adjustments concern: methods of benefit payment (“net” or “gross” of tax); the varying extent with which governments use fiscal instruments rather than cash transfers to pursue social policy goals; and the different degree to which government requires other economic agents to provide social expenditures. The analysis also addresses the automatic budget effects related to the stage of the economic cycle. This analysis is a first attempt to capture in a comprehensive manner the effect ... La base de données de l’OCDE sur les dépenses sociales (SOCX) permet d’observer l’évolution de l’ensemble des dépenses sociales ainsi que les modifications survenues dans leur composition. Mais ces dépenses dans leur ensemble peuvent parfois ne pas refléter l’effort véritable qu’un pays fournit pour apporter une aide sociale. Il faut tenir compte des effets du système fiscal et des transferts qui, bien qu’ils soient obligatoires, ne sont pas payés par le gouvernement. Afin de passer d’un concept ‘brut” de dépenses sociales à un concept “net”, divers ajustements sur les données brutes sont nécessaires. Ces ajustements concernent : les méthodes de paiement des prestations (“nettes” ou “brutes” d’impôt); l’importance avec laquelle les gouvernements utilisent les instruments financiers plutôt que les transferts en espèces pour accomplir les objectifs de la politique sociale; et jusqu’à quel point le gouvernement a besoin d’autres agents économiques pour qu’ils fournissent des dépenses ...

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers with number 19.

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Date of creation: 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaaa:19-en

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Cited by:
  1. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Bjørn Volkerink, 2003. "How to Measure the Tax Burden on Labour at the Macro-Level?," CESifo Working Paper Series 963, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Cutler, David & Johnson, Richard, 2004. "The Birth and Growth of the Social Insurance State: Explaining Old-Age and Medical Insurance Across Countries," Scholarly Articles 2643658, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. van der Hoek, M. Peter, 2000. "Does the Dutch Model Really Exist?," MPRA Paper 5905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Hélène Périvier-Timbeau, 2002. "Family Policies in France: between generosity and ambiguity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/3843, Sciences Po.
  5. Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, 2000. "Failing the needy: public social spending in Latin America," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 101-119.
  6. David M. Cutler & Richard Johnson, 2004. "The Birth and Growth of the Social Insurance State: Explaining Old Age and Medical Insurance Across Countries," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 87-121, 07.
  7. Delsen, Lei, 2003. "Are European welfare states sustainable?," Research Report 03C28, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).


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