A comprehensive and effective social protection system is an essential component of a market economy. The success of developed countries has – in part – been the result of their investments in social protection. On average, OECD countries spend around 14% of GDP on their national social protection systems. As Figure 1 indi- cates, developed countries would look very different without investments in social protection, with significantly higher poverty rates. Germany, for example, invests around 16% of GDP in social protection, reducing the national poverty rate from 32.5% to 8.9% and bringing significant other benefits such as lower inequality and greater social cohesion. In terms of expenditure, social protection is the largest public service in developed countries.
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