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How Productive is Public Capital? A Meta-Regression Analysis

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Abstract

The last two decades have witnessed a great deal of effort devoted to measuring the private output elasticity of public capital, but remarkably little consensus has emerged. This paper estimates the meta-output elasticity of public capital and explains the heterogeneity of primary estimates around this value. We develop a simple approach to measure and correct meta-estimates for bidirectional publication bias. Using meta-regression analysis applied to a sample of 67 studies for the 1983{2008 period, we derive an unconditional meta-output estimate of 0.146 and show that the `true' effect is rather heterogeneous. The intraregional short-run output elasticity amounts to 0.085. In the long run, and after accounting for interregional spillover effects, the contribution of public capital to output increases by a factor of three. The results suggest that the high output elasticities found in the early time-series literature are compatible with long-run (cointegrating) estimates found more recently. We also show that the observed estimates are significantly inflated by bidirectional publication bias.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper0912.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0912

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Keywords: Direct public capital; infrastructure; public investment; meta-analysis; meta-regression analysis; (nonlinear) publication bias;

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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Kappeler & Albert Solé-Ollé & Andreas Stephan & Timo Välilä, 2012. "Does fiscal decentralization foster regional investment in productive infrastructure?," ERSA conference papers ersa12p60, European Regional Science Association.
  2. Bottasso, Anna & Castagnetti, Carolina & Conti, Maurizio, 2013. "And yet they Co-move! Public capital and productivity in OECD," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 713-729.
  3. Ton S. van den Bremer & Frederick van der Ploeg, 2012. "How to Spend a Windfall: Dealing with volatility and capital scarcity," OxCarre Working Papers 085, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  4. Anna Bottaso & Carolina Castagnetti & Maurizio Conti, 2011. "And Yet they Co-Move! Public Capital and Productivity in OECD: A Panel Cointegration Analysis with Cross-Section Dependence," Quaderni di Dipartimento 154, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods.

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