Published in REPORTS

L. Athanassiou, D. Athanassakopopulos, C. Dimitriadou, M. Kounaris, Α. Kotsi, Ν. Manolas, P. Papakonstantinou, T. Terrovitis. 2000. | ISBN: 960-341-034-9


The size of the public sector in comparison to the economy of a country, as this can be indicated by the ratio of public revenues and public expenditure as a percentage of the GDP, influences the functioning of the economy in a variety of ways and when the tax burden exceeds certain limits this may negatively affect its performance.

The study presents comparative data on the development of the ratio of public revenue and expenditure as a percentage of the GDP in Greece and other countries for the period prior to its publication. It also examines developments in a number of factors which are important for drawing conclusions as regards the burden of the public sector upon the economy, such as the composition of public expenditure, the quality and quantity of the services provided to the economy by the public sector, the extent of its regulatory interventions and business activities, etc.

From the data presented is clear that the size of the public sector and the tax burden have been on a continuous increase. It had not yet reached the levels observed in some other countries, such as the Scandinavian, but it had exceeded the levels prevalent in many other countries. Upon a consideration of the other factors mentioned the picture emerging was disquieting. In any case the opinion that there is nothing to worry about since in some other well functioning countries the raw figures regarding the size of the public sector exceed those of Greece cannot be justified, especially if one takes onto account that in these countries the value of the services offered by the public sector, especially in areas such as health and education is very considerably higher than in Greece. This follows clearly from an examination of the pattern of household expenditure provided by corresponding surveys.