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Spatial Productivity Spillovers from Public Infrastructure: Evidence from State Highways

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  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • Amy Ellen Schwartz
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    Abstract

    Is public sector infrastructure a key determinant of productivity? Traditional, project-based analyses of benefits and costs typically do not find large rates of return. Proponents of infrastructure spending instead point to regression-based analyses of the links between private productivity and public infrastructure that imply large productivity effects from public spending. The disparity in estimated returns is often attributed to geographic spillovers in productivity benefits that are not captured by disaggregated analyses. We examine the degree to which state highways provide productivity benefits beyond the narrow confines of each state's borders. Despite the fact that state highways -- especially the interstate highway system -- are designed at least in part with interstate linkages in mind, we find no evidence of quantitatively important productivity spillovers.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5004.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5004.

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    Date of creation: Feb 1995
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    Publication status: published as International Tax and Public Finance, vol. 2 (1995), pp. 459-468.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5004

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    1. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    2. Alicia H. Munnell, 1990. "How does public infrastructure affect regional economic performance?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 34, pages 69-112.
    3. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Policy Watch: Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 189-198, Fall.
    4. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
    5. Alicia H. Munnell, 1990. "Why has productivity growth declined? Productivity and public investment," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 3-22.
    6. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1988. "Estimating Vector Autoregressions with Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1371-95, November.
    7. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "State-specific estimates of state and local government capital," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 185-209, April.
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