Social Expenditure and Revenues

Herbert Obinger and Uwe Wagschal

in The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579396
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Social Expenditure and Revenues

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This article addresses both the social expenditures and the revenues of the welfare state. Using the latest data available, it investigates major developments in social spending and public revenues in twenty-one advanced democracies since 1980. Then, it describes measurement issues and sheds light on the determinants of cross-national differences in spending and revenue levels identified in the literature. The argument is that spending and revenue figures, irrespective of shortcomings noted subsequently, provide important indicators of both the logic and pattern of welfare state development over a given period. Patterns of social spending and taxation strongly overlap and support the notion of distinct families of nations. Social spending neither shows very much about levels of benefit provision nor does it capture the regulatory dimension of social policy.

Keywords: welfare state; social expenditures; social spending; public revenues; cross-national differences; taxation; social policy

Article.  7129 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Public Policy

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