ICAEW chart of the week – Global public spending

This week’s chart is on the subject of public spending, which in 2018 is expected to reach £22 trillion globally.  

This is 35% of forecast global GDP for this year of £63tn. As expected, accounting for nearly 75% of the global economy, the largest spenders are North America, Europe, China and Japan.  Perhaps more surprisingly (although not to our regular readers), Africa (population 1,243m) with 3% of the global economy, spends just £0.46 trillion: only 2% of global public spending and just 7% of the £6.74tn spent by central and local governments across Europe (population 544m). 

Public spending in the USA amounts to some 35% of GDP, in line with the global average. This compares with an average of 42% in Europe, 29% in Asia-Pacific and 32% for the rest of world.  

Within Europe, the UK is expected to spend 39% of its GDP on public services, less than the 45% planned by Germany, the 49% for Italy and the 56% for France, but more than its tax revenues. 

Over a third of economic activity in the world is controlled by just a few thousand politicians and public servants.  How effectively they spend that money on behalf of their citizens is something that the statistics don’t currently tell us.

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