The Case of Independent Living
Services, Economy and Innovation series
Chapter 1: The need for disruptive innovation in public services
Public services are an important part of all societies. Government spending constitutes a significant portion of gross domestic product (GDP) across the developed world. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimated the range of government share of GDP in 2009 at 18 to 58 percent. Individual countries show significant variance. As an example, the United States and Japan represent countries with a relatively small government share of the economy (approximately 37–42 percent) whereas the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries range from 52 to 58 percent (OECD, 2011). This variation comes into even greater relief when one compares the size and distribution of government expenditures by category. There is significant variation in spending and mix for health and social protection services. Compare Norway’s commitment of more than 23 percent of budget to social and health issues, to the United States’ 18 percent of budget which includes a much higher proportion allocated to healthcare. Figure 1.1 graphically depicts four countries’ approaches to health and social service spending.