Regional Economics: Theory and Practice

Assessment of the effectiveness of social expenditures of Russian regions through the DEA method

Vol. 16, Iss. 1, JANUARY 2018

Received: 14 July 2017

Received in revised form: 1 November 2017

Accepted: 26 November 2017

Available online: 16 January 2018


JEL Classification: H53, I38

Pages: 123–137

Tumanyants K.A. Volgograd State University, Volgograd, Russian Federation

ORCID id: not available

Sesina Yu.E. Pension Fund of Russian Federation in Volgograd Oblast, Volgograd Branch, Volgograd, Russian Federation

ORCID id: not available

Subject The article discusses the problem of measuring the efficiency of budget expenditures for financing social programs in the regions of the Russian Federation.
Objectives The article aims to calculate the changes in the poverty level and social expenditures of the consolidated budgets of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation from 2011 to 2015.
Methods The Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) method is used for the study. This methodology has been adapted for the estimation of social expenditures on the database of Russian statistics. To try out the modified method, we used indicators for all Russian regions for five years.
Results The article points out the increase in the efficiency of social expenditures of the regions during the specified period of time. Despite the decline in real terms of funding for social protection measures from regional and municipal budgets, the growth of the number of poor people in most of the Russian constituents has not occurred. The article reveals a significant interregional differentiation of values of efficiency of expenses on social policy, and ranks the subjects of the Russian Federation on this criterion.
Conclusions and Relevance The differences in the effectiveness of social spending indicate a significant potential for optimizing the use of budget funds and reducing poverty in most regions of the Russian Federation. The results of the research can be used in comparative assessment of the quality of social policy of regional and municipal authorities. Studying the experience of leading and lagging regions will improve the effectiveness of social programs in Russian regions.

Keywords: social expenditures, poverty level, data envelopment analysis, social policy


  1. Andreeva E.I., Bychkov D.G., Feoktistova O.A. [Regional approaches to optimization of sub-federal systems of social support benefits in Russia]. Finansovyi zhurnal = Financial Journal, 2016, no. 5, pp. 25–36. (In Russ.)
  2. Zolotareva А., Misikhina S. et al. Sostoyanie i perspektivy razvitiya sistemy sotsial'noi zashchity v Rossii: monografiya [The state and prospects of social safety system development in Russia: a monograph]. Moscow, Gaidar Institute Publ., 2011, 268 p.
  3. Grigoli F., Kapsoli J. Waste Not, Want Not: The Efficiency of Health Expenditure in Emerging and Developing Economies. International Monetary Fund, 2013, IMF Working Paper 13/187, 25 p. URL: Link
  4. Afonso A., Aubyn M.St. Non-parametric Approaches to Education and Health Efficiency in OECD Countries. Journal of Applied Economics, 2005, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 227–246. URL: Link
  5. Solana-Ibanez J., Caravaca-Garraton M., Para-Gonzalez L. Two-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis of Spanish Regions: Efficiency Determinants and Stability Analysis. Contemporary Economics, 2016, vol. 10, iss. 3, pp. 259–274. URL: Link
  6. Commander S., Tolstopiatenko A., Yemtsov R. Channels of Redistribution: Inequality and Poverty in the Russian Transition. The Economics of Transition, 1999, vol. 7, iss. 2, pp. 411–447.
  7. Milanovic B. Income, Inequality, and Poverty during the Transition from Planned to Market Economy (English). World Bank Regional and Sectoral Studies. Washington, D.C., The World Bank, 1998, 124 p. URL: Link
  8. Farrell M.J. The Measurement of Productive Efficiency. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 1957, series A, vol. 120, iss. 3, pp. 253–290.
  9. Charnes A., Cooper W.W., Rhodes E. Measuring the Efficiency of Decision Making Units. European Journal of Operational Research, 1978, vol. 2, iss. 6, pp. 429–444. URL: Link90138-8
  10. Zhu J. Quantitative Models for Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking: Data Envelopment Analysis with Spreadsheets. Springer, 2008.
  11. Gupta S., Verhoeven M. The Efficiency of Government Expenditure: Experiences from Africa. Journal of Policy Modeling, 2001, vol. 23, iss. 4, pp. 433–467. URL: Link00036-3
  12. Herrera S., Pang G. Efficiency of Public Spending in Developing Countries: An Efficiency Frontier Approach. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 2005, no. 3645, 67 p. URL: Link
  13. Jafarov E., Gunnarsson V. Government Spending on Health Care and Education in Croatia: Efficiency and Reform Options. IMF Working Papers, no. 08/136, 2008, 34 p. URL: Link
  14. Mattina T., Gunnarsson V. Budget Rigidity and Expenditure Efficiency in Slovenia. IMF Working Paper, no. 07/131, 2007, 29 p. URL: Link
  15. Afonso A., Schuknecht L., Tanzi V. Public Sector Efficiency: An International Comparison. Public Choice, 2005, vol. 123, no. 3-4, pp. 321–347. URL: Link
  16. Afonso A., Aubyn M.St. Cross-country Efficiency of Secondary Education Provision: A Semi-parametric Analysis with Non-discretionary Inputs. ECB Working Paper, 2005, no. 494. URL: Link
  17. Hauner D. Benchmarking the Efficiency of Public Expenditure in the Russian Federation. IMF Working Paper, 2007, no. 07/246, 42 p. URL: Link
  18. Akhremenko А.S. [Effectiveness of public investment: A 'model-to-evaluation' strategy]. Polis. Politicheskie issledovaniya = Polis. Political Studies, 2014, no. 6, pp. 9–31. (In Russ.) URL: Link
  19. Afonso A., Schuknecht L., Tanzi V. Income Distribution Determinants and Public Spending Efficiency. The Journal of Economic Inequality, 2010, vol. 8, iss. 3, pp. 367–389. URL: Link
  20. Pritchard A. Understanding Government Output and Productivity. Economic Trends, 2003, no. 596, pp. 27–39.
  21. Ravallion M. On Measuring Aggregate "Social Efficiency". Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2005, vol. 53, iss. 2, pp. 273-292. URL: Link
  22. Cantillon B. The Paradox of the Social Investment State: Growth, Employment and Poverty in the Lisbon Era. Journal of European Social Policy, 2011, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 432–449. URL: Link

View all articles of issue


ISSN 2311-8733 (Online)
ISSN 2073-1477 (Print)

Journal current issue

Vol. 16, Iss. 10
October 2018