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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 1980. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," NBER Working Papers 0432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Easterly, William R., 1989. "Policy distortions, size of government, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 344, The World Bank.
  5. Ahmed, Shaghil, 1986. "Temporary and permanent government spending in an open economy: Some evidence for the United Kingdom," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 197-224, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Abdul Qayyum & Idrees Khawaja & Asma Hyder, 2008. "Growth Diagnostics in Pakistan," Development Economics Working Papers 22218, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  3. M. Alejandro Cardenete & Ferran Sancho, 2010. "The Role of Supply Constraints in Multiplier Analysis," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 805.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  4. Shantayanan Devarajan & Danyang Xie & Heng-Fu Zou, 2002. "Should Public Capital Be Subsidized or Provided?," Macroeconomics 0212005, EconWPA.
  5. Roland Bénabou, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 11-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Riccarda Longaretti, 2001. "Wealth Distribution, Investment in Human Capital and Occupational Choice When Capital Markets Are Imperfect," Working Papers 38, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2001.
  7. Swaroop, Vinaya & DEC, 1994. "The public finance of infrastructure : issues and options," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1288, The World Bank.
  8. Roman Arjona & Maxime Ladaique, 2003. "Mark Pearson Growth, Inequality and Social Protection," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(s1), pages 119-140, January.
  9. 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.
  10. Bénabou, Roland, 1996. "Unequal Societies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1419, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. Roman Arjona & Maxime Ladaique & Mark Pearson, 2002. "Social Protection and Growth," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2002(2), pages 7-45.
  13. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
  15. Pillai N., Vijayamohanan, 2008. "Infrastructure, Growth And Human Development In Kerala," MPRA Paper 7017, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. 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.
  17. Roman Arjona & Maxime Ladaique & Mark Pearson, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Social Protection," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 51, OECD Publishing.

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