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The composition of public expenditure and economic growth

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  • Shantayanan Devarajan

    (Policy Research Department, The World Bank)

  • Vinaya Swaroop

    (Policy Research Department, The World Bank)

  • Heng-fu Zou

    (Policy Research Department, The World Bank)

Abstract

Noting that the literature has focused on the link between the level of public expenditure and growth, we derive conditions under which a change in the composition of expenditure leads to a higher steady-state growth rate of the economy. The conditions depend not just on the physical productivity of the different components of public expenditure but also on the initial shares. Using data from 43 developing countries over 20 years we show that an increase in the share of current expenditure has positive and statistically significant growth effects. By contrast, the relationship between the capital component of public expenditure and per-capita growth is negative. Thus, seemingly productive expenditures, when used in excess, could become unproductive. These results imply that developing-country governments have been misallocating public expenditures in favor of capital expenditures at the expense of current expenditures.

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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 77.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 1996
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Monetary Economics, Volume 37, Issue 2, April 1996, Pages 313-344
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:77

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Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/
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Keywords: Productive and unproductive government expenditures; Economic growth; Developing countries;

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References

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  1. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  2. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
  3. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
  4. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Lindauer, David L & Velenchik, Ann D, 1992. "Government Spending in Developing Countries: Trends, Causes, and Consequences," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 7(1), pages 59-78, January.
  6. Hansen, Lars Peter & Hodrick, Robert J, 1980. "Forward Exchange Rates as Optimal Predictors of Future Spot Rates: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 829-53, October.
  7. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 2001. "The growth impact of intersectoral and intergovernmental allocation of public expenditure: With applications to China and India," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 58-81.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. William Easterly, 1989. "Policy Distortions, Size of Government, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 3214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Syrquin, M. & Chenery, H.B., 1989. "Patterns Of Development, 1950 To 1983," World Bank - Discussion Papers 41, World Bank.
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