This study categorized research on public expenditure from the last 10 years and analyzed the main trends through a meta-analysis. Themes in government expenditure, drawn form public finance textbooks and journals, are divided into three groups; overall expansion of public finance, public service demand, and public service costs.
The findings are as follows. First, studies on the overall expansion of public finance examined theories of expansion and determinants of the budget structure. Empirical studies in this area supported Wagner's Law for the most part, and confirmed that government expenditure is related to budgetary incrementalism, socioeconomic variables, and bureaucratic behavior in support of the local community. Second, studies about public service demand discussed the measurement of demands, the characteristics of public services, and intergovernmental grants. A direct measure of the demand of public goods is expected to be developed in the future. Studies on the publicness of public services and intergovernmental grants report different results than studies based upon traditional theory. Third, studies on public service costs can be classified into studies on economies of scale, factor prices, the Tiebout hypothesis, and environmental factors. These studies proved the benefits of economies of scale and confirmed that city-county consolidation can hinder efficiency. On the other hand, studies about factor prices are in their infancy and there are limits to the application of the Tiebout hypothesis in the Korean context, due to the lack of variety in local government structures. Finally, environmental factors were found to have a noticeable effect on government expenditure, and demographic factors in particular.