Recreation and Culture
In general, percentages of GDP spent on recreation and culture are positively correlated with per capita income - the richer the country, the higher the percentage expenditure on culture and recreation - but there are some striking exceptions. Ireland with relatively high per capita income spends relatively little on recreation and culture while the Czech Republic, with relatively low per capita income, spends a rather high share.
Household expenditure on recreation and culture includes purchases of audio-visual, photographic and computer equipment; CDs and DVDs; musical instruments; camper vans; caravans; sports equipment; toys; domestic pets and related products; gardening tools and plants; newspapers; tickets to sporting matches, cinemas and theatres; and spending on gambling (including lottery tickets) less any winnings. It excludes expenditures on restaurants, hotels, and travel and holiday homes but includes package holidays.
Government expenditures include administration of sporting, recreational and cultural affairs as well as the maintenance of zoos, botanical gardens, public beaches and parks; support for broadcasting services and, where present, support for religious, fraternal, civic, youth and other social organisations (including the operation and repair of facilities and payment to clergy and other officers.) Also included are grants to artists and arts companies. Capital outlays such as the construction of sports stadiums, public swimming pools, national theatres, opera houses and museums are included.
The data in these tables are all taken from the OECD's national accounts database and are compiled according to a common set of definitions. Nevertheless, for Australia and United States, final consumption expenditure of households includes final consumption expenditure of Non-Profit Institution Serving Households. For Japan Government expenditure refers to fiscal year whereas GDP refers to calendar year. For Australia and New Zealand data refer to fiscal year.
In most countries, household expenditures on recreation and culture have remained fairly stable at around 5% of GDP over the last decade. Notable exceptions were Greece, and the Slovak Republic where the percentages increased significantly, and Luxembourg, Turkey and Ireland, where they fell significantly to percentages well below the OECD average.
Data on government expenditures on recreation, culture and religion are available for fewer countries. In most of these countries, government expenditure amounts to between 0.5 and 2% of GDP. By the end of the period, government expenditures were much higher than average in Hungary, Luxembourg and (particularly) Iceland and below 0.5% of GDP in Japan, Greece and the United States. Percentages over the period covered, grew significantly in the case of Iceland but fell significantly in Sweden; albeit from a relatively high starting position.
The third table shows the combination of private and public expenditures on recreation and culture. Typically, for most countries the shares are in the 5 to 7% of GDP range but significantly higher in Iceland and lower in Ireland.
OECD (2008), National Accounts of OECD Countries, OECD, Paris.
OECD (2005), Culture and Local Development, OECD, Paris.