The study examines the determinants of social expenditure in Sri Lanka for the period 1970–2010. The data are from a new data set assembled by the authors. The social spending data are collected from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on education, health, and also on welfare spending. The study explains the determinants of social spending considering the demand-side and the supply-side driving forces and finds that inequality issues have been a major concern of social policy in Sri Lanka. Similarly, this study implies the influence of political behavior to satisfy voters as explained by the fiscal illusion theory. The globalization is not significant for social expenditure as commonly assumed in developed countries. Even the consequences of the self-interested behavior of bureaucrats are not evident in the Sri Lankan welfare sector.