IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/jecsur/v28y2014i5p889-916.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

What Have We Learned From Three Decades Of Research On The Productivity Of Public Capital?

Author

Listed:
  • Pedro R.D. Bom
  • Jenny E. Ligthart

Abstract

The last three decades have witnessed a great deal of research effort devoted to measuring the private output elasticity of public capital. The wide range of available estimates have precluded any consensus so far, however. This paper reconciles the empirical findings of the literature by quantitatively analyzing a sample of 578 estimates collected from 68 studies for the 1983–2008 period. Using meta-regression analysis, we show how study design characteristics and publication bias can explain a large fraction of the variation across estimates. We find a short-run output elasticity of public capital supplied at the central government level of 0.083, which increases to 0.122 in the long run. If, in addition, only core infrastructure at a regional/local level of government is considered, these estimates are almost doubled. The average output elasticity of public capital amounts to 0.106. Our results suggest that public capital is undersupplied in OECD economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro R.D. Bom & Jenny E. Ligthart, 2014. "What Have We Learned From Three Decades Of Research On The Productivity Of Public Capital?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 889-916, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:28:y:2014:i:5:p:889-916
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/joes.12037
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. T.D. Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2010. "Picture This: A Simple Graph That Reveals Much Ado About Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 170-191, February.
    2. Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2004. "Meta-analysis of the effect of fiscal policies on long-run growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 91-124, March.
    3. Andreas Stephan, 2003. "Assessing the contribution of public capital to private production: Evidence from the German manufacturing sector," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 399-417.
    4. Kodrzycki Yolanda K. & Yu Pingkang, 2006. "New Approaches to Ranking Economics Journals," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-44, August.
    5. Mera, Koichi, 1973. "II. Regional production functions and social overhead capital: An analysis of the Japanese case," Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 157-185, May.
    6. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    7. Pereira, Alfredo M & Sagales, Oriol Roca, 1999. "Public Capital Formation and Regional Development in Spain," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 281-294, October.
    8. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Amy Schwartz, 1995. "Spatial productivity spillovers from public infrastructure: Evidence from state highways," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(3), pages 459-468, October.
    9. Jerome Creel & Gwenaelle Poilon, 2008. "Is public capital productive in Europe?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(6), pages 673-691.
    10. T. D. Stanley & Stephen B. Jarrell, 2005. "Meta‐Regression Analysis: A Quantitative Method of Literature Surveys," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 299-308, July.
    11. Alicia H. Munnell, 1991. "Is there a shortfall in public capital investment? An overview," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 23-35.
    12. Rafael Flores De Frutos & Mercedes Gracia-Diez & Teodosio Perez, 1998. "Public capital stock and economic growth: an analysis of the Spanish economy," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(8), pages 985-994.
    13. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Time-Series Minimum-Wage Studies: A Meta-analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 238-243, May.
    14. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    15. Evans, Paul & Karras, Georgios, 1994. "Is government capital productive? Evidence from a panel of seven countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 271-279.
    16. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1997. "Productive government expenditures and long-run growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 183-204, January.
    17. Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-1196, September.
    18. Pinnoi, Nat, 1994. "Public infrastructure and private production measuring relative contributions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 127-148, March.
    19. 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.
    20. Otto, Glenn & Voss, Graham M, 1994. "Public Capital and Private Sector Productivity," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 70(209), pages 121-132, June.
    21. Dessus, Sebastien & Herrera, Remy, 2000. "Public Capital and Growth Revisited: A Panel Data Assessment," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 407-418, January.
    22. Otto, Glenn D. & Voss, Graham M., 1998. "Is public capital provision efficient?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 47-66, June.
    23. Stephanie Aubert & Andreas Stephan, 2000. "Regional Infrastructure Policy and its Impact on Productivity: A Comparison of Germany and France," CIG Working Papers FS IV 00-02, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    24. de Mooij, Ruud A & Ederveen, Sjef, 2003. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment: A Synthesis of Empirical Research," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(6), pages 673-693, November.
    25. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    26. Lucio Picci, 1999. "Productivity and Infrastructure in the Italian Regions," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 58(3-4), pages 329-353, December.
    27. Christophe Kamps, 2006. "New Estimates of Government Net Capital Stocks for 22 OECD Countries, 1960-2001," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(1), pages 1-6.
    28. Eisner, Robert, 1994. "Real government saving and the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 111-126, March.
    29. T. D. Stanley, 2008. "Meta‐Regression Methods for Detecting and Estimating Empirical Effects in the Presence of Publication Selection," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(1), pages 103-127, February.
    30. Rosina Moreno & Enrique López-Bazo, 2007. "Returns to Local and Transport Infrastructure under Regional Spillovers," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 30(1), pages 47-71, January.
    31. Doucouliagos, Hristos & Paldam, Martin, 2011. "The ineffectiveness of development aid on growth: An update," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 399-404, June.
    32. William Crowder & Daniel Himarios, 1997. "Balanced growth and public capital: an empirical analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(8), pages 1045-1053.
    33. Evans, Paul & Karras, Georgios, 1994. "Are Government Activities Productive? Evidence from a Panel of U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 1-11, February.
    34. Daiji Kawaguchi & Fumio Ohtake & Keiko Tamada, 2005. "The Productivity of Public Capital: Evidence from the 1994 Electoral Reform of Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0627, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    35. Sturm, Jan Egbert & de Haan, Jakob, 1995. "Is public expenditure really productive?: New evidence for the USA and The Netherlands," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 60-72, January.
    36. 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 151-168, Supplemen.
    37. Rosina Moreno Serrano & Manuel Artis Ortuno & Enrique Lopez Bazo & Jordi Surinach Caralt, 1997. "Evidence on the complex link between infrastructure and regional growth," Working Papers in Economics 19, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    38. Catherine Kavanagh, 1997. "Public capital and private sector productivity in Ireland, 1958-1990," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(1/2), pages 72-94, January.
    39. S. J. Erenburg, 1998. "Productivity, private and public capital, and real wage in the US," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(8), pages 491-495.
    40. Robert Eisner, 1991. "Infrastructure and regional economic performance: comment," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 47-58.
    41. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1994. "Public investment in infrastructure in a simple growth model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1173-1187, November.
    42. Joseph Berechman & Dilruba Ozmen & Kaan Ozbay, 2006. "Empirical analysis of transportation investment and economic development at state, county and municipality levels," Transportation, Springer, vol. 33(6), pages 537-551, November.
    43. Doucouliagos, Chris & Ulubasoglu, Mehmet Ali, 2006. "Economic freedom and economic growth: Does specification make a difference?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 60-81, March.
    44. Kemmerling, Achim & Stephan, Andreas, 2002. "The Contribution of Local Public Infrastructure to Private Productivity and Its Political Economy: Evidence from a Panel of Large German Cities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 403-424, December.
    45. T. D. Stanley, 2005. "Beyond Publication Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 309-345, July.
    46. Raymond Batina, 1998. "On the Long Run Effects of Public Capital and Disaggregated Public Capital on Aggregate Output," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 5(3), pages 263-281, July.
    47. Ratner, Jonathan B., 1983. "Government capital and the production function for U.S. private output," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 213-217.
    48. 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.
    49. Matilde Mas & Joaquin Maudos & Francisco Perez & Ezequiel Uriel, 1996. "Infrastructures and Productivity in the Spanish Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(7), pages 641-649.
    50. Dalamagas, Basil, 1995. "A Reconsideration of the Public Sector's Contribution to Growth," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 385-414.
    51. Berndt, Ernst & Hansson, Bengt, 1992. "Measuring the Contribution of Capital in Sweden," Working Paper Series 365, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    52. Alfredo Marvão Pereira & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2003. "On the regional impact of public capital formation in spain," Working Papers wpdea0305, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    53. David Alan Aschauer, 1989. "Back of the G-7 pack: public investment and productivity growth in the Group of Seven," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 89-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    54. Sturm, Jan-egbert & Jacobs, Jan & Groote, Peter, 1999. "Output Effects of Infrastructure Investment in the Netherlands, 1853-1913," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 355-380, April.
    55. Mitsuhiko Kataoka, 2005. "Effect Of Public Investment On The Regional Economies In Postwar Japan," Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 115-139, July.
    56. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
    57. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1994. "Public-Sector Capital and the Productivity Puzzle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 12-21, February.
    58. McMillin, W Douglas & Smyth, David J, 1994. "A Multivariate Time Series Analysis of the United States Aggregate Production Function," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 659-673.
    59. Justin van der Sluis & Mirjam van Praag & Wim Vijverberg, 2005. "Entrepreneurship Selection and Performance: A Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Education in Developing Economies," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 225-261.
    60. Ant Afonso & Christophe Rault, 2015. "Short- and long-run behaviour of long-term sovereign bond yields," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(37), pages 3971-3993, August.
    61. Bajo-Rubio, Oscar & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simon, 1993. "Does public capital affect private sector performance? : An analysis of the Spanish case, 1964-1988," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 179-185, July.
    62. 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.
    63. Ward Romp & Jakob De Haan, 2007. "Public Capital and Economic Growth: A Critical Survey," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8(S1), pages 6-52, April.
    64. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 1995. "Infrastructure in a structural model of economic growth," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 131-151, April.
    65. Ram, Rati, 1996. "Productivity of public and private investment in developing countries: A broad international perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1373-1378, August.
    66. Kenneth Button, 1998. "original: Infrastructure investment, endogenous growth and economic convergence," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 32(1), pages 145-162.
    67. Glenn Otto & Graham M. Voss, 1994. "Public Capital and Private Sector Productivity," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 70(209), pages 121-132, June.
    68. Wim P. M. Vijverberg & Chu-Ping C. Vijverberg & Janet L. Gamble, 1997. "Public Capital And Private Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 267-278, May.
    69. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Lovely, Mary E., 1996. "Scale economies, returns to variety, and the productivity of public infrastructure," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 105-123, April.
    70. Mary G. Finn, 1993. "Is all government capital productive?," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 53-80.
    71. Norihiko Yamano & Toru Ohkawara, 2000. "The Regional Allocation of Public Investment: Efficiency or Equity?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 205-229, May.
    72. Brian A. Mikelbank & Randall W. Jackson, 2000. "The Role of Space in Public Capital Research," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 23(3), pages 235-258, July.
    73. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
    74. Baltagi, Badi H & Pinnoi, Nat, 1995. "Public Capital Stock and State Productivity Growth: Further Evidence from an Error Components Model," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 351-359.
    75. T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
    76. Otto, Glenn & Voss, Graham, 1996. "Public Capital and Private Production in Australia," MPRA Paper 52110, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    77. Christophe Kamps, 2006. "New Estimates of Government Net Capital Stocks for 22 OECD Countries, 1960-2001," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(1), pages 1-6.
    78. Ram, Rati & Ramsey, David D., 1989. "Government capital and private output in the United States : Additional evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 223-226, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Pedro R.D. Bom & Jenny E. Ligthart, 2009. "How Productive is Public Capital? A Meta-Regression Analysis," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0912, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    2. Pedro R. D. Bom & Jenny Ligthart, 2008. "How Productive is Public Capital? A Meta-Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2206, CESifo.
    3. Alfredo M. Pereira & Jorge M. Andraz, 2013. "On The Economic Effects Of Public Infrastructure Investment: A Survey Of The International Evidence," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 1-37, December.
    4. 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, issue 1, March.
    5. Holmgren, Johan & Merkel, Axel, 2017. "Much ado about nothing? – A meta-analysis of the relationship between infrastructure and economic growth," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 13-26.
    6. Ward Romp & Jakob De Haan, 2007. "Public Capital and Economic Growth: A Critical Survey," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8(S1), pages 6-52, April.
    7. Angel De la Fuente, 2010. "Infrastructures and productivity: an updated survey," Working Papers 1018, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    8. Silvia Bertarelli, 2006. "Public capital and growth," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 361-398.
    9. Federici, Andrea, 2018. "Il rapporto tra capitale pubblico e altre variabili macroeconomiche: un'applicazione empirica [The relationship between public capital and other macroeconomic variables: an empirical application]," MPRA Paper 88516, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Hurlin, Christophe & Minea, Alexandru, 2013. "Is public capital really productive? A methodological reappraisal," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(1), pages 122-130.
    11. Federici, Andrea, 2018. "Il rapporto tra capitale pubblico e altre variabili macroeconomiche: analisi della letteratura [The relationship between public capital and other macroeconomic variable: a literature review]," MPRA Paper 88515, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Elburz, Zeynep & Nijkamp, Peter & Pels, Eric, 2017. "Public infrastructure and regional growth: Lessons from meta-analysis," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1-8.
    13. Marie-Ange VEGANZONES-VAROUDAKIS, 2000. "Infrastructures, investissement et croissance : un bilan de dix années de recherches," Working Papers 200007, CERDI.
    14. Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, Victoria, 2002. "Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Fiscal Policies on Long-Run Growth," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-028/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 23 Apr 2003.
    15. Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2004. "Meta-analysis of the effect of fiscal policies on long-run growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 91-124, March.
    16. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/1181 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Gupta, Sanjeev & Kangur, Alvar & Papageorgiou, Chris & Wane, Abdoul, 2014. "Efficiency-Adjusted Public Capital and Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 164-178.
    18. Sylvie Charlot & Virginie Piguet & Bertrand Schmitt, 2003. "Capital public et productivite quels effets sur les disparites regionales ?," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 113(6), pages 851-880.
    19. Jerome Creel & Paola Monperrus-Veroni & Francesco Saraceno, 2007. "Has the Golden Rule of Public Finance Made a Difference in the UK ?," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-13, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    20. José Luis Torres Chacon, 2015. "Introduction to Dynamic Macroeconomic General Equilibrium Models," Vernon Press Titles in Economics, Vernon Art and Science Inc, edition 2, number 54, July.
    21. Zolfaghari, Mehdi & Kabiri, Mahbobe & Saadatmanesh, Hamideh, 2020. "Impact of socio-economic infrastructure investments on income inequality in Iran," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 1146-1168.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:28:y:2014:i:5:p:889-916. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0950-0804 .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0950-0804 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.