Data

Public spending on education as a share of GDP

What you should know about this indicator

Historical expenditure data:

Historical data in this dataset is based on a wide array of sources, reflecting a comprehensive approach to data collection across different time periods and regions. However, the diverse nature of these sources leads to inconsistencies, as methodologies and data quality vary between sources. For instance, older sources like the League of Nations Statistical Yearbook or Mitchell's 1962 data may use different metrics or collection methods compared to more modern sources like the OECD Education reports or UN surveys. This variance in source material and methodology means that direct comparisons across different years or countries might be challenging, necessitating careful interpretation and cross-reference for accuracy. The dataset serves as a rich historical repository but also underscores the complexities and challenges inherent in compiling and harmonizing historical data from multiple, diverse sources.

Recent estimates:

General government expenditure on education (current, capital, and transfers) is expressed as a percentage of GDP. It includes expenditure funded by transfers from international sources to government. General government usually refers to local, regional and central governments.

World Bank variable id: SE.XPD.TOTL.GD.ZS

Original source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). UIS.Stat Bulk Data Download Service. Accessed October 24, 2022.

Source
World Bank (2023); Tanzi & Schuknecht (2000) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
July 10, 2023
Date range
1870–2022
Unit
%

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Bank EdStats database offers a comprehensive array of over 8,000 internationally comparable indicators related to education access, progression, completion, literacy, teachers, demographics, and expenditures. It covers the education cycle from pre-primary to vocational and tertiary education, including data on learning outcomes from assessments like PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS, equity data from household surveys, and educational projections up to 2050.

Retrieved on
July 26, 2023
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank Education Statistics (EdStats), World Bank, 2023. Licence: CC BY 4.0.

The underlying sources include: League of Nations Statistical Yearbook (various years), Mitchell (1962), OECD Education at a Glance (1996), UNESCO World Education Report (1993), UNDP Human Development Report (1996), UN World Economics Survey (various years). To the extent that the authors do not specify which sources were prioritised for each year/country, it is not possible for us to reliably extend the time series with newer data. For instance, the OECD Education at a Glance report (1998), which presents estimates for the years 1990 and 1995, suggests discrepancies with the values reported by Tanzi & Schuknecht (2000) for 1993.

Retrieved on
September 30, 2017
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Tanzi, Vito, and Ludger Schuknecht. Public Spending in the 20th Century: A Global Perspective. 2000.

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline

Reuse this work

  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
  • All data, visualizations, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.

Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Public spending on education as a share of GDP”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Bank, Tanzi & Schuknecht. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/total-government-expenditure-on-education-gdp [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

World Bank (2023); Tanzi & Schuknecht (2000) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

World Bank (2023); Tanzi & Schuknecht (2000) – processed by Our World in Data. “Public spending on education as a share of GDP” [dataset]. World Bank, “World Bank Education Statistics (EdStats) 2023”; Tanzi & Schuknecht, “Public Expenditure on Education OECD” [original data]. Retrieved July 21, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/total-government-expenditure-on-education-gdp