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How “big” should government be?

Author

Listed:
  • António Afonso
  • Ludger Schuknecht

Abstract

We assess how “big” government should reasonably be in a number of advanced countries. First, we will link the recent findings of Data Envelope Analysis on efficient public expenditure with the question of the size of the government. Second, we report descriptive analysis of various government performance indicators in relation to public expenditure to provide indications of overall “optimal” across spending categories. In principle, the highest savings potential is in the biggest expenditure categories, public consumption and social expenditure.

Suggested Citation

  • António Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht, 2019. "How “big” should government be?," EconPol Working Paper 23, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:econwp:_23
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola & Volker Ziemann, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1003, OECD Publishing.
    2. Antonis Adam & Manthos Delis & Pantelis Kammas, 2011. "Public sector efficiency: leveling the playing field between OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 163-183, January.
    3. Afonso, Antonio & St. Aubyn, Miguel, 2005. "Non-Parametric Approaches to Education and Health Efficiency in OECD Countries," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 8(2), pages 1-20, November.
    4. Afonso, Antonio & St. Aubyn, Miguel, 2006. "Cross-country efficiency of secondary education provision: A semi-parametric analysis with non-discretionary inputs," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 476-491, May.
    5. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    6. António Afonso & Vítor Gaspar, 2007. "Dupuit, Pigou and cost of inefficiency in public services provision," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 485-502, September.
    7. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The selection principle and market failure in systems competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 247-274, November.
    8. António Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2010. "Income distribution determinants and public spending efficiency," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(3), pages 367-389, September.
    9. Ludger Schuknecht, 2018. "The Supply of Safe Assets and Fiscal Policy," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 53(2), pages 94-100, March.
    10. António Afonso, & Mina Kazemi, 2016. "Assessing Public Spending Efficiency in 20 OECD Countries," Working Papers Department of Economics 2016/12, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    11. Jean-Marc Fournier & Åsa Johansson, 2016. "The Effect of the Size and the Mix of Public Spending on Growth and Inequality," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1344, OECD Publishing.
    12. repec:idb:brikps:80478 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Antonio Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2010. "Public sector efficiency: evidence for new EU member states and emerging markets," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(17), pages 2147-2164.
    14. Niklas Potrafke, 2009. "Did globalization restrict partisan politics? An empirical evaluation of social expenditures in a panel of OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 105-124, July.
    15. António Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2005. "Public sector efficiency: An international comparison," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 321-347, June.
    16. António Afonso & Alma Romero & Emma Monsalve, 2013. "Public sector efficiency: evidence for Latin America," Working Papers Department of Economics 2013/20, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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