COMPARATIVE ANALYSES OF STATENESS AND STATE ACTION: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM PATTERNS OF EXPENDITURE?
What types of public expenditure can be computed to assess “stateness” and state action? And once these measures of expenditure are agreed upon, what meaning can be drawn from simple rank-order comparisons (or more sophisticated statistical clusters) of where the United States and the European nations stand, according to the computations employed? Conventional measures of state action often focus on two major realms of activity — defense and social welfare — and involve some metric of public expenditure, typically calculated as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). In examining what meanings can be drawn for comparative measures of similarities and differences in United States and European activity in these realms, this chapter comments on defense, but concentrates mainly on the realm of social welfare.
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