An Examination of Public Capital's Role in Production
AbstractThis paper examines whether or not the long-term government bond rate could reasonably be employed as the rate of return on public capital when calculating public sector gross domestic product. It finds that the rate of return on public capital is lower than often reported and is roughly consistent with the rate of return on private capital. Given that there is a range of estimates that are plausible, the paper concludes that the long-run government bond rate could be used as a conservative estimate for the rate of return for public infrastructure. Previous studies have shown that production function estimates tend to find rates of return that are implausibly large, while cost function estimates appear more reasonable. This paper shows that public capital and total factor productivity (TFP) growth behave similarly, and argues that production function estimates for the impact of public capital overstate its impact as a result, catching part of what belongs in estimates of TFP. It also shows that the similarity between the growth in public capital and TFP leads to a large confidence interval around public capital elasticity estimates derived from the production function framework. The paper then proceeds by generating a confidence interval from the production function estimated first with and then without TFP growth. It then uses a cost function to pinpoint more precisely estimates for the marginal cost savings from public capital. Importantly, the estimate derived from the cost function is found in the lower part of the confidence interval derived from the production function. The rate of return associated with the overlapping estimates is then shown to cover a range that extends from the average long-run government bond rate to the rate of return on private capital.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Economic Analysis (EA) Research Paper Series with number 2008050e.
Date of creation: 15 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Business performance and ownership; Construction; Economic accounts; Non-residential building construction; Non-residential engineering construction; Productivity accounts;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Garcia-Mila, Teresa & McGuire, Therese J & Porter, Robert H, 1996.
"The Effect of Public Capital in State-Level Production Functions Reconsidered,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 177-80, February.
- Teresa Garcia-Milà & Therese J. McGuire & Robert H. Porter, 1993. "The effect of public capital in state-level production functions reconsidered," Economics Working Papers 36, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- John G. Fernald, 1999.
"Roads to Prosperity? Assessing the Link between Public Capital and Productivity,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 619-638, June.
- John Fernald, 1997. "Roads to prosperity? assessing the link between public capital and productivity," International Finance Discussion Papers 592, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Tarkhani, Faouzi & Jean, Jimmy & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2003. "Prosperity and Productivity: A Canada-Australia Comparison," Economic Analysis (EA) Research Paper Series 2003018e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
- David Aschauer, 1988.
"Is public expenditure productive?,"
88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Shah, Anwar, 1992. "Dynamics of Public Infrastructure, Industrial Productivity and Profitability," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 28-36, February.
- Dixon, Jay & Baldwin, John R., 2008. "Infrastructure Capital: What Is It? Where Is It? How Much of It Is There?," The Canadian Productivity Review 2008016e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis.
- Tarkhani, Faouzi & Warren, Paul & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2003. "Public Infrastructure in Canada: Where Do We Stand?," Insights on the Canadian Economy 2003005e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis.
- Gu, Wulong & Baldwin, John R., 2007. "Multifactor Productivity in Canada: An Evaluation of Alternative Methods of Estimating Capital Services," The Canadian Productivity Review 2007009e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis.
- Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995.
"Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels,"
Cambridge Working Papers in Economics
9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- Usher, Dan, 1984. "An Instructive Derivation of the Expression for the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 39(3), pages 406-11.
- Alfredo M. Pereira, 2000. "Is All Public Capital Created Equal?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 513-518, August.
- Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992.
"Testing the null hypothesis of stationarity against the alternative of a unit root : How sure are we that economic time series have a unit root?,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
- Kwiatkowski, D. & Phillips, P.C.B. & Schmidt, P., 1990. "Testing the Null Hypothesis of Stationarity Against the Alternative of Unit Root : How Sure are we that Economic Time Series have a Unit Root?," Papers 8905, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
- Denis Kwiatkowski & Peter C.B. Phillips & Peter Schmidt, 1991. "Testing the Null Hypothesis of Stationarity Against the Alternative of a Unit Root: How Sure Are We That Economic Time Series Have a Unit Root?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 979, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Miguel Ramirez, 2004. "Is public infrastructure spending productive in the Mexican case? A vector error correction analysis," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 159-178.
- James Brox & Christina Fader, 2005. "Infrastructure investment and Canadian manufacturing productivity," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(11), pages 1247-1256.
- repec:fth:coluec:394 is not listed on IDEAS
- Kaddour Hadri, 1999.
"Testing For Stationarity In Heterogeneous Panel Data,"
1999_04, University of Liverpool Management School.
- Kaddour Hadri, 2000. "Testing for stationarity in heterogeneous panel data," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 3(2), pages 148-161.
- Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-96, September.
- Maddala, G S & Wu, Shaowen, 1999. " A Comparative Study of Unit Root Tests with Panel Data and a New Simple Test," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 631-52, Special I.
- Berndt, Ernst R & Hansson, Bengt, 1992. " Measuring the Contribution of Public Infrastructure Capital in Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages S151-68, Supplemen.
- John A. Tatom, 1993. "Is an infrastructure crisis lowering the nation's productivity?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 3-21.
- Harchaoui, Tarek M., 1997. "Le capital public au Canada : évolution historique et externalités," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 73(1), pages 395-421, mars-juin.
- Nathan S. Balke & Thomas B. Fomby, 1991.
"Large shocks, small shocks, and economic fluctuations: outliers in macroeconomic times series,"
9101, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
- Balke, Nathan S & Fomby, Thomas B, 1994. "Large Shocks, Small Shocks, and Economic Fluctuations: Outliers in Macroeconomic Time Series," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 181-200, April-Jun.
- John A. Tatom, 1991. "Should government spending on capital goods be raised?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-15.
- Macdonald, Ryan, 2007. "Estimating TFP in the Presence of Outliers and Leverage Points: An Examination of the KLEMS Dataset," Economic Analysis (EA) Research Paper Series 2007047e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
- Morrison, Catherine J & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 1996.
"State Infrastructure and Productive Performance,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1095-1111, December.
- Nadiri, M Ishaq & Mamuneas, Theofanis P, 1994.
"The Effects of Public Infrastructure and R&D Capital on the Cost Structure and Performance of U.S. Manufacturing Industries,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 22-37, February.
- M. Ishaq Nadiri & Theofanis P. Mamuneas, 1991. "The Effects of Public Infrastructure and R&D Capital on the Cost Structure and Performance of U.S. Manufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 3887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Berndt, Ernst & Hansson, Bengt, 1992. "Measuring the Contribution of Capital in Sweden," Working Paper Series 365, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Pedroni, Peter, 1999.
" Critical Values for Cointegration Tests in Heterogeneous Panels with Multiple Regressors,"
Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics,
Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 653-70, Special I.
- Peter Pedroni, 1999. "Critical Values for Cointegration Tests in Heterogeneous Panels with Multiple Regressors," Department of Economics Working Papers 2000-02, Department of Economics, Williams College.
- Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
- Baldwin, John R. & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2002. "Productivity Growth in Canada," Productivity Growth in Canada, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis, number stcb6e, December.
- Suzanne McCoskey & Chihwa Kao, 1998.
"A residual-based test of the null of cointegration in panel data,"
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 57-84.
- Chihwa Kao & Suzanne McCoskey, 1997. "A Residual-Based Test Of The Null Of Cointegration In Panel Data," Econometrics 9711002, EconWPA.
- Grossman, Herschel I & Lucas, Robert F, 1974. "The Macro-Economic Effects of Productive Public Expenditures," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 42(2), pages 162-70, June.
- John A. Tatom, 1991. "Public capital and private sector performance," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 3-15.
- Krasnopjorovs, Olegs, 2009.
"Privātā un sabiedriskā kapitāla nozīme Latvijas ekonomikas izaugsmē
[Contribution of private and public capital to economic growth in Latvia]," MPRA Paper 47580, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Wulong Gu, 2012. "Estimating Capital Input for Measuring Business Sector Multifactor Productivity Growth in Canada: Response to Diewert and Yu," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 24, pages 49-62, Fall.
- Mary Modupe Fasoranti, 2012. "The Effect of Government Expenditure on Infrastructure on the Growth of the Nigerian Economy, 1977-2009," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 2(4), pages 513-518.
- Krasnopjorovs, Olegs, 2013.
"Latvijas ekonomikas izaugsmi noteicošie faktori
[Factors of Economic Growth in Latvia]," MPRA Paper 47550, University Library of Munich, Germany.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Brown).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.