Belgium has effected a remarkable fiscal adjustment, best illustrated by the decline in its public debt. While benefiting from an appreciable decline in interest rates, most of the underlying consolidation reflected a considerable increase in the tax burden, one of the highest in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This paper analyzes the social transfer system in Belgium. Belgium has a very accessible and equitable health care system. The system is characterized by high input levels and service volumes.
This paper assesses changes in the size and scope of government in 24 transition economies. Whereas these governments have retrenched in terms of public expenditures in relation to GDP, as well as public employment as a share of population, some indicators suggest that size remains high (e.g., rising indebtedness, a heavy regulatory burden, and prevalence of noncash transactions). At the same time, the scope of government activities-although evolving-has not necessarily become appropriate. This paper provides some recommendations for aligning the scope of government with the increasing market orientation of these economies.
The paper examines macroeconomic and structural factors potentially explaining the country's underperformance. A comparison between the reform and baseline policy scenarios underscores maintaining a strong fiscal position, early reductions in primary expenditures, and reducing fiscal vulnerability. Assigning the financing and management of the health care system to the regions may increase the efficiency and the productivity of the health care system. The information on Italy's economy and legal as well as regulatory environment is available on the worldwide web, and the paper lists the related sites.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix constructs an index of human capital for the Spanish labor force over 1977–97, and projects it over the next decade on the basis of likely demographic developments. The methodology by which the index is constructed considers both educational attainments resulting from formal schooling and improvements in workers’ productivity resulting from experience, or “learning by doing.” The results suggest that the gains from increases in formal schooling can be large, although they are translated into higher economic growth only gradually.
This Selected Issues paper reviews developments in health care spending in France and discusses the recent measures to improve the functioning of the system and contain costs. It argues that by addressing many of the issues that had bedeviled past reforms, the new measures offer a reasonable hope of containing France’s health expenditures. The paper presents a brief review of the institutional background and of past trends in health care spending and also offers an analysis of the major forces behind the recent and projected growth in expenditure.
This handbook, edited by Ke-young Chu and Richard Hemming, offers guidance to officials formulating public policy recommendations, so that the aggregate level of public spending conforms with the economy's overall resource capacity. The handbook looks at the impact of public spending on the efficiency of resource use and explores the basis for distinguishing between productive and unproductive spending.