Policy Article

The German federal expenditures in times of Corona in the focus of the Kiel Federal Expenditure Monitor - A structural analysis

Kieler Beiträge zur Wirtschaftspolitik, 41 Download PDF

The Kiel Federal Expenditure Monitor is an extension of the Kiel Subsidy Report. It documents not only federal financial assistance but also total federal spending in the period from 2000 to 2021. The Expenditure Monitor presents spending according to a functional classification scheme that includes redistributive spending in the broadest sense, past output spending, current-period output spending, future-period output spending, outgoing payments, and other expenditures. The authors note that over the observation period, redistributive spending dominates with a share of between 35 and 40 percent of adjusted federal spending. Moreover, at the current edge, financial assistance has increased significantly, now ranking second among expenditure categories at just under 19 percent. From these findings the authors conclude that the propensity of policymakers to distribute subsidies has increased significantly in the wake of the Corona crisis. In this context, the authors point out that in 2021 the federal government subsidized companies to the tune of almost EUR 20 billion additionally from the Future Package, which cannot be classified as material compensation as a result of the lockdown. These funds have therefore not served to stabilize the economy in the Corona crisis but, as a means of selective industrial policy, clearly have the character of financial aid. Against the backdrop of the establishment of a special fund for defense purposes worth 100 billion euros, the authors suggest that not only future generations should be called upon to provide the counter-financing, but that in addition current subsidies should be reduced.