Does cutting back the public sector improve efficiency? Some evidence from 15 European countries
The successful development of the welfare state that transpired for three decades after WWII in the developed countries, came to a halt around the end of the 1980s. Since then, the number of articles and books dedicated to the crisis of the welfare state has increased. We can now assert that at the turn of the century, almost all industrialized countries had cut at least “some” entitlements in their welfare program along with other expenditure items, and the trend continued in the first decade of this century. To defend the cuts and possibly to justify continuing cuts, several economic reasons, both theoretical and empirical, have been highlighted. From mention of Baumol’s disease to the fiscal crisis, the support for making such decisions by governments gained momentum, with their political inspiration changing during the same period in favor of more conservative, right-wing positions. The low productivity of the public sector and the high level of tax burden were the substantial arguments used to support cuts. The aim of this paper is to provide an empirical investigation into the impact of retrenchment of the public sector on the performance of 15 European countries. In particular, we aim to empirically test the view that “big government” reduces a country's efficiency. We have found that no such empirical support exists. We have also included analysis of the distribution of income through the Gini index and have found the standard trade-off relation between inequality and efficiency.
|Date of creation:||30 Apr 2013|
|Date of revision:||30 Apr 2013|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.ceistorvergata.it
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma|
Web: http://www.ceistorvergata.it Email:
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- António Afonso & Miguel St. Aubyn, 2010.
"Public and Private Inputs in Aggregate Production and Growth: A Cross-country Efficiency Approach,"
Working Papers Department of Economics
2010/09, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
- António Afonso & Miguel St. Aubyn, 2013. "Public and private inputs in aggregate production and growth: a cross-country efficiency approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(32), pages 4487-4502, November.
- Afonso, António & St. Aubyn, Miguel, 2010. "Public and private inputs in aggregate production and growth: a cross-country efficiency approach," Working Paper Series 1154, European Central Bank.
- António AFONSO & Miguel ST. AUBYN, . "Public and Private Inputs in Aggregate Production and Growth: A Cross-country Efficiency Approach," EcoMod2010 259600004, EcoMod.
- Hartwig, Jochen, 2008.
"What drives health care expenditure?--Baumol's model of 'unbalanced growth' revisited,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 603-623, May.
- Jochen Hartwig, 2006. "What Drives Health Care Expenditure? Baumol’s Model of ‘Unbalanced Growth’ Revisited," KOF Working papers 06-133, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
- Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 2001.
"Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1501-1520, August.
- Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1998. "Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries," Working Paper Series 503, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 20 Jun 2000.
- Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 2000. "Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 391, Stockholm School of Economics.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1992.
"Growth, distribution and politics,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 593-602, April.
- Evangelia Desli & Subhash C. Ray & Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2002.
"A Dynamic Stochastic Frontier Production Model with Time-Varying Efficiency,"
2003-15, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Evangelia Desli & Subhash Ray & Subal Kumbhakar, 2003. "A dynamic stochastic frontier production model with time-varying efficiency," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(10), pages 623-626.
- A. B. Atkinson & A. Brandolini, 2009. "On data: a case study of the evolution of income inequality across time and across countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 381-404, May.
- Stevenson, Rodney E., 1980. "Likelihood functions for generalized stochastic frontier estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 57-66, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:274. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Barbara Piazzi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.