How much do OECD countries spend on social protection and how redistributive are their tax/benefit systems?

The global economic crisis has reignited interest in social policy and public spending on different types of social benefits. Public social spending-to-GDP ratios are often used to consider the magnitude of welfare systems in international perspective, but such comparisons alone give an incomplete picture of social effort across countries. This article looks at these different factors, before briefly considering the redistributive nature of tax/benefit systems in different member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The article also considers trends in social spending and compares spending in the late 2000s with the early 1990s when the previous economic crisis played out. The article ends by illustrating the profound effect the recent global economic crisis had on social spending trends across OECD countries.