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2 (18) 2012

Demography and social economy, 2012, 2(18):53-62
doi: https://doi.org/10.15407/dse2012.02.053

Ph.D., Ptoukha Institute for demography and social studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Section: Living standard and quality of life.
Language: Ukrainian
Abstract: The article is devoted to investigating of the role of local budgets as important investors of development of social sphere at the regional level in Ukraine. A brief theoretical discourse on previous studies is provided with specification of previous researches in the field and definition of unsolved problems. A lack of studies on financial providing of social policy in the regional aspect is stressed, predetermining in need in the respective research.
The principles of allocation of social expenditures at the regional level in Ukraine are described in the article, as well the primary fields of their use. Presently, the local budgets function as the main investors of social development in Ukraine, as the overwhelming part of public social spending is concentrated at the local level, including expenditures on healthcare, education and social protection of the population. The structure of social expenditures within the total expenditures of the local budgets is analyzed in details for a period of 20022010, including expenditures on education, healthcare, social protection, culture and housing-communal services. The dynamics of the absolute and relative values of respective items of social expenditures of local budgets has been also investigated for this period, resulting in a summarizing of the basic countrys trends. The dynamical analysis of expenditures has been realized as in nominal prices, as with consideration of inflation rates.
A particular attention has been paid to the regional variation of various categories of social expenditures, including expenditures on education, healthcare, social protection, culture, etc. Based on analysis of regional variation, some important trends have been defined, including a decline in regional disproportions in a size of social spending of local budgets, which is a consequence of a purposeful public policy on minimization of regional disproportions in development. The rates of regional variation have been estimated for different types of social expenditures during the last decade. Also, a close dependency of volumes of social spending by regions on demographic factors has been revealed, including correlation with the total population number and the number of potential users of different social services. As a result, a conclusion on a better situation in terms of per capita social expenditures in the western regions of Ukraine due to smaller population numbers has been made, while the eastern regions are characterized by lower values of the respective indicators. There is also a lack of consideration of the regional prices, when determining the size of social expenditures in the regions, which could result in understating of a real consumer price of the respective public spending. Moreover, the whole picture of regional disproportions in per capita social spending is been changed, when expenditures of local budgets are adjusted for the so called regional prices, which are estimated based on average wages in the regions.
The basic general problems of budgeting at the local level are defined, including a high centralization of authorities on funding and administration of sectors of social sphere, a lack in opportunities of collection of own income by local budgets, a need in further introduction of innovative practices of budgeting and evaluation of social effects of budgetary expenditures. A brief description of direction of modernization of local budgeting outlined in the State Concept of Reformation of Local Budgets is provided, while the authors opinion on further measures is also mentioned. The article provides some general recommendations on possible ways of solution of the specified problems with budgeting at the local level, in particular related to an increase in the efficiency of use of social resources in the regions and transformation of the current mechanism of funding of social sphere. A need in further optimization of a network of public institutions, providing social services, is also outlined, in particular with an emphasis on consideration of rational social normatives, current demographical trends and expected demographical projections.
Key words: social development, local budgets, social expenditures, social policy, regional development.
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