Monday, August 3, 2009
The Optimum Size of Government
From the Center for Freedom and Prosperity:
A new study by economists with the Institute for Market Economics (IME) in Sofia, Bulgaria, using the latest OECD data, finds that the government sectors in OECD (developed countries) are too large relative to their private sectors to maximize economic growth. Economists have long known that the government sector can be too small or too large to maximize economic growth, job creation, and the social welfare of its citizens. Governments that do not adequately protect the people and their property and the rule of law may be too small, while governments whose size and inefficiencies cause a misallocation of resources are too large.
Over the last several decades, economists have tried to determine and quantify the optimum size of government (recognizing that not all governments and societies are the same). Most studies have shown the optimum size of government is between 12% and 30% of GDP. The new IME study, entitled The Optimum Size of Government, finds (using standard methodology) the government sector should be no larger than 25% (and perhaps considerably smaller) to maximize GDP growth. All major governments, including the U.S., Germany, U.K., France, and Italy greatly exceed that level. The average government sector for the OECD countries now exceeds 41% of GDP.