1887

Restructuring welfare spending

Restoring fiscal sustainability is a major challenge in Slovenia. Yet, the performance in terms of expenditure control is poor and public expenditure on social spending increased briskly during the crisis, significantly more than on average across the OECD. Despite recent progress in reforming the pension system, Slovenia continues to face major age-related spending pressures. Reforming the welfare state would help achieve fiscal consolidation, increase the quality of fiscal adjustment and address long-term fiscal sustainability challenges. This could be done without significantly worsening income inequality, which is low in Slovenia. Despite recent progress, cash transfers do not seem to be sufficiently means tested. Partly driven by generous social transfers, average effective tax rates on returning to work from inactivity and unemployment are high and could be further cut gradually. Efficiency frontier analysis suggests there is scope to improve spending efficiency without undermining the qualityof in-kind services on secondary education, health care and public administration. There is excess capacity in pre-school and compulsory education and the allocation of tertiary education services is regressive. The delivery of health care could be improved by rationalising inpatient care and enhancing cost-effective primary care, which would generate savings in the medium term. Further increasing the effective retirement age and reforming the financing of health and long-term care are the main policy priorities to contain the pressure of population ageing on expenditure.

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