DEFINITION: Public social expenditure comprises cash benefits, direct "in-kind” provision of goods and services, and tax breaks with social purposes. To be considered "social”, benefits have to address one or more social goals. Benefits may be targeted at low-income households, but they may also be for the elderly, disabled, sick, unemployed, or young persons. Programmes regulating the provision of social benefits have to involve: a) redistribution of resources across households, or b) compulsory participation. Social benefits are regarded as public when general government (that is central, state, and local governments, including social security funds) controls relevant financial flows. The expenditures shown here refer only to public social benefits and exclude similar benefits provided by private charities.