This paper assesses the relative efficiency of government spending on health care and education in Croatia by using the so-called Data Envelopment Analysis. The analysis finds evidence of significant inefficiencies in Croatia's spending on health care and education, related to inadequate cost recovery, weaknesses in the financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements, weak competition in the provision of these services, and weaknesses in targeting public subsidies on health care and education. These inefficiencies suggest that government spending on health and education could be reduced without undue sacrifices in the quality of these services. The paper identifies ways to do that.
This paper assesses the relative efficiency and flexibility of public spending in Slovenia compared to the advanced and new EU member states. Spending on health care, education, and social protection is relatively high in Slovenia without achieving correspondingly better outcomes. Inefficiencies appear to stem from the financing mechanisms for social services, institutional arrangements, and the weak targeting of social benefits. In addition, the composition of spending appears to be strongly tilted towards nondiscretionary items that reduce the fiscal room for maneuver. Greater flexibility is needed to facilitate the reallocation of relatively inefficient expenditure into higher priorities. In this manner, medium-term expenditure rationalization can focus on reducing inefficient outlays rather than restraining traditionally flexible components of the budget, such as public investment.