Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The causes of government and the consequences for growth and well-being

Contents:

Author Info

  • Commander, Simon
  • Davoodi, Hamid R.
  • Lee, Une J.
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Using a large cross-country data set, the authors examine the factors that cause governments to grow, and analyze how the size of government affects growth, whether measured as income growth or other measures of well-being, such as infant mortality and life expectancy. They find no robust link between government size and per capita income. The factors they find to be important in explaining government size are relative prices, the age-dependency ratio, how long a country has been independent, relative political freedom, and openness in trade. Their results also partially support the view that governments use consumption to buffer external risk, especially in low-income countries. As for how government size affects growth, they find a robust and significant negative relationship between growth and government size, as measured by consumption. Policy distortions, predictably, also have a negative effect on growth. But the positive effects of well-functioning institutions and high quality in government bureaucracies can offset the negative influence of large government size alone. Finally, they find that social-sector spending can exert a positive influence by reducing infant mortality and raising life expectancy. Better income distribution, higher per capita income, higher per capita income growth, and more political freedom have the same positive effect on those two measures of well-being.

    Download Info

    If 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.
    File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/1999/09/17/000178830_98101904053984/Rendered/PDF/multi_page.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1785.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 30 Jun 1997
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1785

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
    Phone: (202) 477-1234
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Theory&Research; National Governance; Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Knowledge Economy; Knowledge Economy; Environmental Economics&Policies; National Governance; Economic Theory&Research; Inequality;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:
    as in new window
    1. Joel Slemrod, 1995. "Involvement, Prosperity, and Economic Growth?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 373-431.
    2. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
    3. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    4. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
    6. Bosworth, B. & Collins, S.M. & Chen, Y.C., 1995. "Accounting for Differences in Economic Growth," Papers 115, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
    7. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
    8. Shantayanan Devarajan & Vinaya Swaroop & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," CEMA Working Papers 77, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    9. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    11. Lindauer, David L., 1988. "The size and growth of government spending," Policy Research Working Paper Series 44, The World Bank.
    12. 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.
    13. Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522543, December.
    14. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Mind your P's and Q's : the cost of public investment is not the value of public capital," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1660, The World Bank.
    15. Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1996. "Wealthier is Healthier," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 841-868.
    16. Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 1995. "The Growth of Government and the Reform of the State in Industrial Countries," IMF Working Papers 95/130, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
    18. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
    19. Alan T. Peacock & Jack Wiseman, 1961. "The Growth of Public Expenditure in the United Kingdom," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number peac61-1.
    20. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
    21. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
    22. Tavares, Jose & Wacziarg, Romain, 2001. "How democracy affects growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1341-1378, August.
    23. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Peter Lindert, 2003. "Why The Welfare State Looks Like a Free Lunch," Working Papers 27, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    2. Estela Sáenz Rodríguez & Marcela Sabaté Sort & Mª. Dolores Gadea Rivas, 2011. "¿Condiciona la apertura exterior el tamaño del sector público? Un panorama," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 198(3), pages 131-149, September.
    3. Rama,Martin G., 1997. "Efficient public sector downsizing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1840, The World Bank.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1785. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).

    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.