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Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Fiscal Policies on Long-Run Growth


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  • Peter Nijkamp

    (Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam)

  • Jacques Poot, Victoria

    (University of Wellington, New Zealand)


The issue of whether the public sector enhances or retards long-run economic growth has been debated passionately in recent years. In this paper we use meta-analysis to shed light on the issue. A sample of 93 published studies, yielding 123 meta-observations, is used to examine the robustness of the evidence regarding the impact of fiscal policy on growth. We focus on five fiscal policy areas: general government consumption, tax rates, education expenditure, defence, and public infrastructure. Several meta-analytical techniques are applied, including frequency tabulation, logit analysis and rough set analysis. On balance, the evidence for a positive impact of policy on growth is rather weak, but the commonly identified importance of education and infrastructure is confirmed. The results are sensitive to several research design parameters. Cross-section studies are more likely to suggest a detrimental effect of "big government" on growth than studies using panel data, but they are unlikely to be able to correctly identify the growth impact of infrastructure. The probability that a study detects a significantly positive effect of public infrastructure on growth is the greater, the longer the time span of data used in the econometric analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 02-028/3.

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Date of creation: 21 Mar 2002
Date of revision: 23 Apr 2003
Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20020028

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Keywords: endogenous growth; fiscal policy; meta-analysis; rough set analysis.;

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  1. An Open Letter to Robert Barro
    by Steve Roth in Angry Bear on 2012-06-12 23:31:00
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  1. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00654363 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Valter Di Giacinto & Giacinto Micucci & Pasqualino Montanaro, 2012. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Infrastructures: A Literature Review and Empirical Analysis on the Case of Italy," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 1, March.
  3. Wai-Hong Ho & Yong Wang, 2005. "Public capital, asymmetric information, and economic growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(1), pages 57-80, February.
  4. repec:ese:iserwp:2006-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Longhi, Simonetta & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2006. "The Impact of Immigration on the Employment of Natives in Regional Labour Markets: A Meta-Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 2044, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Justin van der Sluis & Mirjam van Praag & Wim Vijverberg, 2003. "Entrepreneurship Selection and Performance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers, Tinbergen Institute 03-046/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 24 Sep 2004.


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