There is a great diversity among welfare states in Europe. This diversity is reflected in the scale of expenditures for social protection systems, their evolution over time and the division of expenditures among programs. This chapter analyses the level and structure of expenditures for the last year for which data is available. Then, it turns to the evolution of social expenditure over time. Even though one observes some convergence, social spending is increasing in almost all countries. One of the reasons for this is the development of entitlements that makes it difficult to dismantle programs that have lost most of their raison d’être. Another issue concerns the international comparison of programs that are public in some countries and private, but heavily subsidized, in others.
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