Government Expenditure on Social Services – 2007
Author: Yaakov Kop
April 15, 2008
The expansion of economic activity, which has continued uninterrupted since the middle of 2003, has improved Israel’s macroeconomic picture significantly and has recently begun to be detected by socioeconomic indicators as well.
It is precisely for this reason that the distress of specific population groups who have not benefited from the trickle down effect of this economic growth stands out all the more. The experience of recent years shows that pro-growth macroeconomic measures take a long time to benefit society’s weaker groups and that even then the achievements are incomplete and inadequate. Therefore, to cope effectively with socioeconomic problems, the government should also employ a range of direct and focused measures.
Policymaking and the selection of methods of promoting the welfare of weaker population groups have been flawed for various reasons including difficulties in identifying and measuring costs and benefits and, particularly, in comparing cost-benefit ratios among different kinds of public social expenditure. The purpose of this review is to enhance the discussion of the government’s socioeconomic policies by improving its factual base. It describes developments over time and evaluates the main trends in government social expenditure. It also tries to assess, to the extent possible, the efficiency of resource allocation.
This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2007.