Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Public expenditure as a factor in the development of society: the evolution of the concept in the history of economic thought

Slavinskaya Olga, Institute of Economics RAS

In the early 1970s, the analysis of economic growth began to take into account the impact of human capital. A question arose in the scientific community that it is not correct to rely only on showing GDP when assessing the level of development of a country. In addition to the material aspect of well-being, it is also necessary to take into account non-economic indicators: the level of social development of the country, the quality of life of the population, the state of the environment and others. Thus, human capital was recognized as a factor determining competitiveness and the level of economic development of the country, which changed both the regulatory functions of the state and the content of the category of public expenditure. The role of the state in the economy has been changing under the influence of both historical factors and the level of development of society and the prevailing economic school. Starting from protectionism policy in the epoch of mercantilism, passing to complete non-interference of the state in the epoch of classical economic liberalism and finishing with the modern model of the state of development, researchers from absolutely different sides considered the institution of the state and necessity of its participation. This study is devoted to the analysis of the evolution of the interpretation in the history of economic thought of the last centuries of such an economic category as public finance, and in particular public expenditure. An important aspect of the work is the analysis of the place and role of the state in different views of economists-theorists, which is one of the key factors determining the level of development of a country. This paper presents an analysis of the following economic schools: Cameralism, German tradition and Italian tradition of public finance, the theory of merit goods, the theory of patronized goods.


Keywords: public finance, state development, public expenditure, state role in development