Measuring the Impact of Public Expenditure on Social Exclusion

By Lou Wilson.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social provision in Australia accounts for two thirds of government spending and a third of GDP. The allocation principle of social expenditure by the state is needs based and should take into account the extent and dimensions of disadvantage among groups and areas. Much of the current public expenditure on social provision is ostensibly targeted at reducing social exclusion on a needs basis. Analyses of the existing situation in Australia suggests genuine needs based allocations of scarce resources are limited. A small improvement in efficiency and effectiveness by matching the expenditure on these services by social outcomes would have a significant pay-off in terms of economic prosperity, community well-being and social justice. This paper discusses work in progress on an ARC Linkage Project at the University of Adelaide that seeks to assess the effectiveness of public expenditure in reducing social exclusion. The project seeks to benchmark and measure the impact of public expenditure on social exclusion in an industrial region in the north of Adelaide. Northern Adelaide has been designated under the Commonwealth Government Initiative in Regional Australia as a region characterised by persistently high unemployment rates, poverty and social exclusion. In collaboration with the SA Government the project team are seeking to use GIS spatial information systems to match public expenditure patterns with social outcomes, using an array of public expenditure data, ABS data, census data, social indicator data and other appropriate sources of information.

Keywords: Social Exclusion, Public Expenditure, Social Justice, Geographic Information Systems

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.199-206. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 526.163KB).

Dr. Lou Wilson

Academic, Australian Institute for Social Research, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

I am a sociologist at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. I have research interests in social inclusion/exclusion, social cohesion and social capital. I am currently working on a project that seeks to assess the effectiveness of public expenditure in reducing social exclusion. It seeks to develop innovative new forms of quantitative modelling using geographical information systems (GIS). The analysis is being conducted using a variety of spatial scales, in both static and dynamic mode, to investigate the impact of government expenditure on social outcomes.

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