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What do governments buy?

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Author Info

  • Shantayanan Devarajan
  • Vinaya Swaroop
  • Heng-fu Zou

Abstract

The authors develop a simple analytical framework that shows how the composition of public spending affects economic growth. Distinguishing between productive and unproductive government spending (that which complements private sector productivity and that which does not), they show that increasing the share of productive spending leads to a higher steady-state economic growth rate. They use data from 69 developing countries over 20 years to determine which components of public spending are productive. They find that an increase in the share of current spending has positive and statistically significant effects on growth. Otherwise, the news is mainly negative. The relationship between the capital component of public spending and per capita growth is negative. The same is true of the share of spending on transport and communications. The shares spent on health and education have no significant impact, although parts of those shares - the parts spent on preventative care and"other education"- do. The results raise the question whether public spending actually leads to a flow of public goods and services.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics in its series CEMA Working Papers with number 513.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 1993
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series 1082
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:513

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Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/
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References

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  1. Barro, Robert J., 1981. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," Scholarly Articles 3451294, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Aschauer, David Alan & Greenwood, Jeremy, 1985. "Macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 91-138, January.
  3. Grier, Kevin B. & Tullock, Gordon, 1989. "An empirical analysis of cross-national economic growth, 1951-1980," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 259-276, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Rao, M. Govinda, 1998. "Accommodating public expenditure policies: the case of fast growing Asian economies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 673-694, April.
  3. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  4. Swaroop, Vinaya & DEC, 1994. "The public finance of infrastructure : issues and options," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1288, The World Bank.
  5. Torres Preciado, Víctor Hugo & Polanco Gaytán, Mayrén & Manzanares Rivera, José Luis, 2010. "Diferencias en el ingreso per cápita regional e infraestructura de transporte en México
    [Differences in per capita regional income and transport infrastructure in Mexico]
    ," MPRA Paper 28081, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Roman Arjona & Maxime Ladaique & Mark Pearson, 2002. "Social Protection and Growth," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2002(2), pages 7-45.
  7. Abdul Qayyum & Idrees Khawaja & Asma Hyder, 2008. "Growth Diagnostics in Pakistan," PIDE-Working Papers 2008:47, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
  8. Roman Arjona & Maxime Ladaique & Mark Pearson, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Social Protection," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 51, OECD Publishing.
  9. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Danyang, Xie & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Should public capital be subsidized or provided?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 319-331, April.
  10. Pillai N., Vijayamohanan, 2008. "Infrastructure, Growth And Human Development In Kerala," MPRA Paper 7017, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Korhan Gokmenoglu, 2013. "Re-Examination Of Wagner’S Law For Oecd Countries," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 28-37, February.
  12. Randolph, Susan & Bogetic, Zeljko & Hefley, Dennis, 1996. "Determinants of public expenditure on infrastructure : transportation and communication," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1661, The World Bank.

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