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Government expenditures on education, health, and infrastructure : a naive look at levels, outcomes, and efficiency

  • Estache, Antonio
  • Gonzalez, Marianela
  • Trujillo,Lourdes

All interested parties seem to agree that it is important to be able to monitor public sector performance at the sectoral level, but most current work based on multi-country databases does not lend itself to country-specific conclusions. This is due to a large extent to major data limitations both on sectoral expenditures and on sectoral outcomes. This paper discusses the related issues and shows what we can do with the current data inspite of the drastic limitations. The main conclusions of the paper are that any efforts to assess country-specific performances in relative terms are likely to be difficult in view of the data problems. A rough sense of performance across sectors can be estimated for groups of countries, allowing some modest benchmarking exercises. These estimates show that low-income countries generally lag significantly behind higher-income countries. Efficiency has improved during the 1990s in energy and education but has not improved significantly in transport.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4219.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4219
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  1. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1997. "Growth and the public sector: A critical review essay," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 33-52, February.
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  16. Bidani, Benu & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Decomposing social indicators using distributional data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1487, The World Bank.
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