Trends and Composition of Public Expenditures: A Global and Regional Perspective

  • Bingxin Yu
  • Shenggen Fan
  • Eduardo Magalhães
Original Article


This article examines trends in, and composition of, public expenditures for 147 countries from 1980 to 2010. Total public spending has increased significantly for these countries as a whole. While the developed world still accounts for the majority of absolute size of spending, some regions in the developing world (particularly in Asia) have observed a rapid expansion mainly due to their robust economic growth. Developing countries have also outperformed their developed counterparts in investments in productive sectors such as agriculture and infrastructure when measured as their shares of total spending. Both developing and developed countries have observed substantial growth of social protection spending, with growth in developed countries much more pronounced. Over the period of 1980–2010, the level and composition of public expenditure in the social sector and social protection diverged across regions but converged in agriculture and infrastructure expenditure.


public spending government expenditure agriculture social protection regional analysis 


Ce document examine les tendances en, et la composition des, dépenses publiques pour les 147 pays de 1980 à 2010. Le total des dépenses publiques a augmenté de manière significative pour l’ensemble de ces pays. Alors que le monde développé représente encore la majorité du montant absolu des dépenses, certaines régions du monde en développement (en particulier en Asie) ont observé une expansion rapide principalement en raison de leur forte croissance économique. Les pays en développement ont également dépassé leurs homologues développés quant aux investissements dans les secteurs productifs tels que l'agriculture et l'infrastructure, lorsqu’on observe la proportion de ces investissements par rapport à leurs dépenses totales. Les pays développés et en développement ont tous observé une croissance importante des dépenses de protection sociale, avec une croissance beaucoup plus prononcée dans les pays développés. Au cours de la période de 1980–2010, le niveau et la composition des dépenses publiques dans le secteur social et la protection sociale sont disparates entre les régions, mais sont similaires en ce qui concerne les dépenses agricoles et d'infrastructure.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bingxin Yu
    • 1
  • Shenggen Fan
    • 1
  • Eduardo Magalhães
    • 2
  1. 1.IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute)Washington DCUSA
  2. 2.Datalyze Consulting Corp.Ottawa, OntarioCanada

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