Sweden - Public finance

The financial year extends from 1 July to 30 June. Estimates are prepared in the autumn by the Ministry of the Budget and examined by the Riksdag early the following year. The budget contains two sections: an operating budget and a capital budget, the latter generally representing investments in state enterprises. The policy of running a surplus on the budget in boom years and a deficit in depression was used in the period between the two world wars and has been continued as a way of combating inflation. From 1982 to 1989, the budget balance improved from a deficit equivalent to about 13% of GDP to a surplus of nearly 2% of GDP. In 1990, however, a deficit reappeared that was equivalent to 1.2% of GDP. In 1991 and 1992, the budget deficits widened to 4.3% and 9.6% of GDP, respectively. The deficit increased to 12.3% of GDP in 1993, before beginning a sharp decline due to austerity measures, put in place by the Social Democrats; although smaller, deficits remained the norm through the late 1990s. A surplus of 8% of GDP was projected for 2001.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2001 Sweden's central government took in revenues of approximately $119 billion and had expenditures of $110 billion. Overall, the government registered a surplus of approximately $9 billion. External debt totaled $66.5 billion.

The following table shows an itemized breakdown of government revenues and expenditures. The percentages were calculated from data reported by the International Monetary Fund. The dollar amounts (millions) are based on the CIA estimates provided above.


REVENUE AND GRANTS 100.0% 119,001
Tax revenue 87.6% 104,191
Non-tax revenue 11.2% 13,276
Capital revenue 0.1% 152
Grants 1.2% 1,383
EXPENDITURES 100.0% 110,003
General public services 6.2% 6,854
Defense 5.6% 6,145
Public order and safety 2.7% 3,001
Education 6.6% 7,239
Health 2.0% 2,240
Social security 46.3% 50,921
Housing and community amenities 1.7% 1,867
Recreation, cultural, and religious affairs 0.7% 799
Economic affairs and services 9.6% 10,585
Other expenditures 7.1% 7,820
Interest payments 11.4% 12,531
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