The size of the public sector influences the overall impact it has on societal and economic development in a given country. This chapter provides a particularly empirical description of the size and scope of the public sector in Europe, including how large the public sector is in relation to other parts of the economy. Further, how spending and income are measured and defined in national accounts. Does it matter, for example, whether the public sector itself produces or buys goods and services from private providers? The chapter gives definitions of the public sector in the national accounts in order to show that understanding of the role of the public sector might be more blurred than at the outset if just looking into the publicly available data.
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