A United Kingdom spending update

I had no idea that UK public spending had risen from 36.6% in 2000 to the 50% range until this post by Tyler Cowen

Remarkably, public spending actually went up last year as a share of our national income, according to a devastating analysis by the OECD.

In a spreadsheet buried deep on its website and annexed to its latest Economic Outlook, it says that public spending hit 49pc of UK GDP last year, a shocking increase on the 48.6pc of GDP spent by the state in 2011.

You should note that differing figures from the UK government show somewhat of a decline in spending in real terms, unlike this estimate.  It would be interesting to read a detailed explanation of why the OECD figures differ.

I would also note that, according to these estimates, UK public spending was 36.6% of gdp in 2000, and had edged up over 50% by 2009 and 2010 and now is still in the range of 49% or so.  Most of the run-up came over the bubbly years of 2000-2006.  Let’s start by calling that an unsustainable mistake.  I would say that, looking back, they didn’t get very much for this spending boost, did they?  That’s fact #1 that should start off any analysis of British fiscal policy looking forward.


Still, these numbers should be put on the table.  Instead, I very often see these numbers being swept under the proverbial rug.  Perhaps it is believed they might confuse people.

(Via Marginal Revolution.)

2 thoughts on “A United Kingdom spending update

  1. Martin Burkle

    So the US government spends more than it takes in. What percent of the US GDP is government spending?

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