Expenditures by General Government

All 37 OECD countries (2018)

Overall government spending has increased dramatically over time, but how does the U.S. rank when compared to other countries? According to IMF data, collected by the Federalism Index Project, the United States is in the bottom quartile of OECD countries. We rank the United States 38th out of the top OECD countries in 2018: 

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Federal outlays

Employment share

IMF data

Power Shift


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Expenditures by Central Government

Top OECD Countries 2018 

How might this ranking change if we compare OECD countries using a measure of expenditures by central government (omitting state and local government)? Using the same IMF data, the United States climbs slightly in the rankings, ahead of its (federal) neighbors, Mexico and Canada: 

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Expenditures by States

including non-OECD countries

How does the United States stack up if we look only at the total expenditures (as a percent of GDP) by States? Here the picture changes dramatically. In the American federal system, state expenditures account for nearly 17% of GDP. 

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