Modern Economy

Volume 8, Issue 11 (November 2017)

ISSN Print: 2152-7245   ISSN Online: 2152-7261

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.81  Citations  h5-index & Ranking

Social Spending, Welfare and Redistribution: A Comparative Analysis of 22 European Countries

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DOI: 10.4236/me.2017.811087    633 Downloads   1,191 Views   Citations


This paper aims at analysing the effectiveness and the efficiency of social public expenditure in 22 European countries. We present a basic theoretical framework connecting the choice of the level of social protection to the median voter’s preferences and the inefficiency of expenditure. To test it against real data, we construct performance and efficiency indicators. While the existing literature measures the performance of social policy restricting the analysis to its impact on inequality and the labour market, our index summarises the outcomes achieved in all sectors of social protection (family, health, labour market elderly, disabled, unemployment, inequality). Based on this, we find that the ranking of countries differs from those found in the literature. We then put together performance and the amount of expenditure needed to achieve it (to better compare countries, we use social public expenditure net of tax and transfers), constructing efficiency indicators. Our results suggest that countries with a higher social expenditure inefficiency index present a greater variability of performance in all subsectors considered.

Cite this paper

Antonelli, M. and De Bonis, V. (2017) Social Spending, Welfare and Redistribution: A Comparative Analysis of 22 European Countries. Modern Economy, 8, 1291-1313. doi: 10.4236/me.2017.811087.

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