OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

The Effectiveness of Public Expenditure in Portugal

Over the past decade, Portugal has experienced imbalances and inefficiencies in the public sector that have impeded better economic performance. Though Portugal’s total spending as a proportion of GDP is somewhat below the EU average, the rapid and uncontrolled growth of its primary current spending to a level now above the OECD and EU average, is worrying, because it puts at risks long-term fiscal sustainability. This paper points to major shortcomings in the budget management process and in the planning and control of public spending. The paper acknowledges recent action taken by public authorities to address some of the shortcomings and makes recommendations for moving further ahead. It suggests policy options that can make public expenditure more efficient and effective at overall levels. Administrative control, the cost-effectiveness of service provision, and incentives for efficient resource allocation all need to be improved. Ongoing efforts to develop accruals-based ...


Keywords: public economics, Portugal, education, government expenditure, health, structure and scope of government, state and local government
JEL: H11: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government / Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government; I1: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health; H7: Public Economics / State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations; H4: Public Economics / Publicly Provided Goods; I2: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions; H5: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
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