Public Choice

, Volume 123, Issue 3–4, pp 321–347 | Cite as

Public sector efficiency: An international comparison

  • António Afonso
  • Ludger Schuknecht
  • Vito Tanzi


We compute public sector performance (PSP) and public sector efficiency (PSE) indicators, comprising a composite and seven sub-indicators, for 23 industrialised countries. The first four sub-indicators are “opportunity” indicators that take into account administrative, education and health outcomes and the quality of public infrastructure and that support the rule of law and a level playing-field in a market economy. Three other indicators reflect the standard “Musgravian” tasks for government: allocation, distribution and stabilisation. The input and output efficiency of public sectors across countries is then measured via a non-parametric production frontier technique. The study finds significant differences in PSP and PSE, which suggests a large potential for expenditure savings in many countries.


Health Outcome Public Sector Industrialise Country Public Finance Market Economy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • António Afonso
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ludger Schuknecht
    • 1
  • Vito Tanzi
    • 3
  1. 1.European Central BankFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.ISEG/UTL – Technical University of LisbonCISEP- Research Centre on the Portuguese EconomyLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Inter-American Development BankWashingtonU.S.A.

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