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Social Capital, Government Expenditures, and Growth

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  • Ponzetto, Giacomo AM
  • Troiano, Ugo

Abstract

The impact of social capital on economic growth is empirically well documented. Yet the reasons for this relationship remain theoretically understudied. We present a tractable stochastic endogenous growth model that explains how social capital influences economic development. In our model, social capital increases citizens' awareness of government activity. As a consequence, we find it alleviates the electoral incentives to under-invest in education, whose returns are delayed in time and relatively less visible to voters. In the dynamic equilibrium, higher social capital increases both the amount and the efficiency of public investment in education, permanently raising the growth rate. Our theory predicts that higher and more homogeneously distributed social capital should increase public expenditure on education. We provide suggestive cross-country evidence consistent with these predictions.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9891.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9891

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Keywords: Economic Growth; Education Expenditures; Elections; Government Expenditures; Imperfect Information; Social Capital;

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References

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  1. Alessandra Bonfiglioli & Gino Gancia, 2010. "The Political Cost of Reforms," Working Papers 507, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2011. "Heterogeneous Information and Trade Policy," 2011 Meeting Papers 189, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745, 05.
  5. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  7. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  8. Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2010. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," Working Papers 2010.58, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330, November.
  10. James M. Snyder, Jr. & David Strömberg, 2008. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U.S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728, 05.
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Cited by:
  1. Alessandra Bonfiglioli & Gino Gancia, 2012. "Uncertainty, electoral incentives and political myopia," Economics Working Papers 1360, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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