European Government Spending as % of GDP, 2009

by Don Boudreaux on May 7, 2012

in Budget Issues

Russ asks for some data regarding spending by European governments.  Quite by coincidence, I opened this morning an e-mail from my friend Gary Hoover – an e-mail not prompted by Russ’s post – that contained data on 2009 spending.  Gary got these data from this publication, the 2011 edition of which has only recently been published.  (Gary reviews this volume in this video.)

2009 Central Govt expenses as % of GDP
UK 46.4
France 47.6
Germany 31.7
Italy 44.0
Spain 30.7
Netherlands 45.6
Switzerland 17.0
Greece 50.7
Norway 35.9
Finland 35.0
Poland 35.8
Czech Republic 37.3
Estonia 36.8

US 26.3

Canada 19.2
Australia 26.6
Mexico NA (15.0 in 1998)
Brazil 25.6
Chile 22.6
Indonesia 15.7
Turkey 27.3
Thailand 19.6
Malaysia 22.7
China NA
India 16.2
South Korea 21.9
Russia 30.9

Government spending in Europe might have collapsed spectacularly – been truly slashed – in 2010 and 2011.  The above data are from 2009.  But my guess is that, while government spending – both in real absolute terms and as a percentage of GDP – might well have fallen for many or most (or even all) European countries from 2010 through today, applying the term “slashed” to describe such spending cuts such as are plausible to have occurred is unwarranted.

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