Does it literally pay to invest in your nation's welfare? Is it worth it, economically, to provide health care, education, basic sanitation needs, and monetary loans? The answer to this question is at the root of most national policies, not only internal but also external. If social welfare programs are perceived as an economic drain on the country, then they are less likely to be funed, having only the controversial claim of humanitarianism to back them up. (This paper does not argue that humanitarianism itself is controversial, but rather notes that there is a viewpoint which states that encouraging individuals to achieve on their own merit is more conducive to self-betterment, and therefore ultimately more humanitarian than social welfare programs.)
To address this question, this paper examines the relationship between education, sanitation, loans, health care spending, and gross domestic product. Data for the study is drawn from the World Bank's World Development Indicators, for the years 2000-2002. Data sampled includes all regions of the world with available information.