Cover of EconPol Working Paper 46

The Size of Government

António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Ludger Schuknecht (OECD), Vito Tanzi (International Institute of Public Finance)

What government should do, how it should spend and how far it should intervene in the economy are the issues investigated by António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Ludger Schuknecht (OECD) and Vito Tanzi (International Institute of Public Finance) in this working paper. Taking a historical perspective, they assess the composition of public expenditure for advanced, emerging and developing countries and conclude that, while developing countries can struggle with providing well-functioning services, governments are increasingly demonstrating that progress is feasible.

Abstract

We discuss and provide an overview of the size and role of the government, notably in terms of what the government “should” do, how the government could spend and intervene in the economy, how much governments spend and what they spend their money on. This is done from a historical perspective and also in a stylized way via assessing total expenditure, the composition of public expenditure for advanced, emerging and developing countries.

Citation

António Afonso, Ludger Schuknecht, Vito Tanzi: "The Size of Government", EconPol Working Paper 46, June 2020