General government expenditure on cultural services amounted to 2.5% of Iceland’s total general government expenditure in 2018. In comparison to other European countries, the general government in Iceland recorded the third largest share of total expenditure on culture, after Hungary (2.7%) and Latvia (2.8%). Additionally, 0.5% of Iceland’s total general government expenditure was devoted to broadcasting and publishing services, a higher share than the EU-27 average of 0.4%.

The share devoted to cultural services has remained similar in the past 10 years, ranging from 2.2% in 2016 to 2.6% in 2013. For broadcasting and publishing services, the share of total general government expenditure has also remained similar since 2009, although reaching 0.8% in 2015.

Looking at the central government, 1.5% of the total expenditure in 2018 was devoted to cultural services and 0.8% to broadcasting and publishing services. Meanwhile, 4.7% of the local governments’ total expenditure was devoted to cultural services.

Largest share devoted to the use of goods and services
Cultural services expenditure consists of the central and local government’s contribution to the operations of museums, theatres and other cultural institutions, as well as various other expenses within the art and culture sectors. In 2018, 73% of the general government total expenditure on cultural services, went to the use of goods and services (42%) and compensation of employees (31%).

Looking first at the central government’s expenditure on cultural services, the largest share was devoted to the compensation of employees (35%) and the second largest to the use of goods and services (30%). For local governments, 48% was devoted to the use of goods and services and 28% to the compensation of employees.

Regarding the central government’s expenditure on broadcasting and publishing services, 51% of the total amount was devoted to the use of goods and services in 2018 and 45% to the compensation of employees.

Use of goods and services consists of costs related to purchase of inputs and expert services from non-employees. Compensation of employees refers to all remuneration payments to employees. It is worth noting that Artists’ Salaries are included in the subsidies of this breakdown.

About the data
This news release on general government expenditure devoted to cultural services and broadcasting and publishing services is part of Statistics Iceland’s work towards increasing the visibility of statistics regarding culture and media. Statistics Iceland’s economic culture statistics are based on Eurostat’s definition of culture.

Numerical data on government expenditure can be found on Statistic Iceland’s web in the Public finance category under Economy. Expenditure is sorted using the COFOG standard. COFOG categories 8.2 (cultural services) and 8.3 (broadcasting and publishing services) are defined as culture according to Eurostat’s Guide to Culture Statistics. Metadata for general government accounts is also available on Statistics Iceland’s website.

Statistics