General government expenditures and revenues per capita

Governments spend money to provide goods and services and redistribute income. To finance these activities governments raise money in the form of revenues (e.g. taxation) and/or borrowing. The amount of revenues and expenditures per capita provide an indication of the importance of the public sector in the economy across countries. Variations across countries however can also reflect different approaches to the delivery of public services (e.g. such as the use of tax breaks rather than direct expenditures).

Definition

Data are derived from the OECD Annual National Accounts, which are based on the System of National Accounts (SNA), a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and rules for national accounting. The general government sector consists of central, state and local governments and the social security funds controlled by these units. The underlying population estimates are based on the SNA notion of residency. They include persons who are resident in a country for one year or more, regardless of their citizenship, and also include foreign diplomatic personnel, and defence personnel; together with their families and students studying and patients seeking treatment abroad, even if they stay abroad for more than one year. The “one year” rule means that usual residents who live abroad for less than one year are included in the population, while foreign visitors (for example, vacationers) who are in the country for less than one year are excluded.

Comparability

Differences in the amounts of government revenues and expenditures per capita in some countries can be related to the fact that individuals may feature as employees of one country (contributing to the GDP of that country via production), but residents of another (with their wages and salaries reflected in the Gross National Income of their resident country). The OECD average does not include Chile and Turkey.

Overview

On average in the OECD area, governments collected on average USD 14 852 PPP per capita in revenues in 2013, while spending represented USD 16 491 PPP per capita in the same year.

Luxembourg and Norway collected the largest government revenues per capita in the OECD, above USD 30 000 PPP per capita reflecting the large number of cross-border workers and high corporate taxes in Luxembourg and oil revenues in Norway. These two countries also spent the most per citizen (above USD 26 000 PPP).

The governments of Mexico and Turkey collected the smallest revenues per capita; below USD 7 000 PPP. Likewise, government expenditures in these countries were also much lower than average (below USD 7 000 PPP per capita). In general, central European countries also collect comparatively less revenues per capita, and also spend less than most OECD countries.

On average across OECD countries revenues per capita increased, in real terms, at an annual rate of 2.4% between 2009 and 2013 whereas a slight decrease was recorded for expenditures per capita (0.2%) over the same period.

Sources

Further information

Analytical publications

Statistical publications

Online databases

Websites

Table. General government revenues and expenditures per capita

 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933336180

General government revenues and expenditures per capita
US dollars, current prices and PPPs, 2013 and 2014
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933335009