I found in Twitter a great question related to Open Data SE. Maybe someone knows anything more.

Does anyone know of an estimate of total public expenditure from governments around world?

4 Answers 4


This is the type of question that wolframalpha.com is really handy for.

Enter "total government expenditure" in the input box, and see the results. The results also provide the information sources used.


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    You may include a screenshot from the wolfram results, just to improve the answer :)
    – Tasos
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 17:15

This question is hard to answer. There is no database providing a single figure. However, there are some international databases which provide the information for individual countries.

If you want a good coverage of countries, try the Worldbank's Public Sector Statistics. Scroll down a bit and click on the Databank Button. For some countries the data is missing. Either they don't have this kind of information or they don't want to share it with the public.

Eurostat has quite complete and good quality data on government expenses. But obviously, you will be mostly limited to the EU.

The OECD has a wider geographic coverage. On their statistics site, you will find the data in the "National Accounts" Section:

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Individually, you could use the CIA World Factbook.

Under 'economy' there's 'budget' and then 'expenditures'.

I don't know if there's an API for searching it, but I believe that Wikipedia sucked it all out to populate their initial country entries. (but I don't know the schedule that they've been updated, or if it's consistent)


Adding to previous good answer, I think that you might find useful the following WDI indicators (http://data.worldbank.org/products/wdi):

  • 1
    @HelloWorld: I am not repeating anything. In contrast with user1702's answer, in my answer I'm clarifying information by suggesting several particular indicators out of hundreds. Does it qualify for being "useful"? In case of user974731, your comment is ridiculous, because: 1) that answer has nothing in common with mine; 2) even it would, my answer has been posted 16 hours earlier! Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 22:43

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