22 Pages

The Growth of the Public Sector in Switzerland

Switzerland's public sector, relatively speaking, is today larger than that of all the other OEeO Member countries. From the income side, Switzerland has passed Sweden as an extreme welfare state; total government revenues are close to 60 per cent of GOP. This is astonishing, as the general image of Switzerland has been one of a country with a relatively small public sector.l The Swiss public choice school has long argued that the special Swiss political institutions were conducive to a strong market society, which would help to moderate public expenditures.2 Both this image and this theory is wrong, as the Swiss institutions have not held down public sector expansion. More recently, the expansion of the Swiss social state has been acknowledged by Swiss scholars but hardly to its full extent.3 In international social science research, Switzerland continues to be treated as an exception, a so-called outlier.