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Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries: A comment

  • Agell, Jonas
  • Ohlsson, Henry
  • Thoursie, Peter Skogman

In a recent article Stefan Fölster and Magnus Henrekson [2001] argue that “…the more the econometric problems that are addressed, the more robust the relationship between government size and economic growth appears”. But in failing to control for simultaneity in a valid manner the regressions reported by Fölster/Henrekson are flawed. Moreover, using theoretically valid instruments we find that the estimated partial correlation between size of the public sector and economic growth is statistically insignificant and highly unstable across specifications. A policy-maker who wants to promote growth is well-advised to look for other evidence than cross-country growth regressions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 50 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 211-218

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:50:y:2006:i:1:p:211-218
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  1. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  2. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  3. 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.
  4. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Growth of Nations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 275-326.
  5. Agell, J. & Lindh, T. & Ohlsson, H., 1999. "Growth and the Public Sector: a Reply," Papers 1999:1, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  6. Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1998. "Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries," Working Paper Series 503, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 20 Jun 2000.
  7. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  8. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1997. "Growth and the public sector: A critical review essay," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 33-52, February.
  9. Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1997. "Growth and the Public Sector: A Critique of the Critics," Working Paper Series 492, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 10 Jun 1998.
  10. Bond, Stephen Roy & Hoeffler, Anke & Temple, Jonathan, 2001. "GMM Estimation of Empirical Growth Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 3048, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Boozer, Michael A., 1997. "Econometric Analysis of Panel Data Badi H. Baltagi Wiley, 1995," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 747-754, October.
  12. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  13. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1995. "The Welfare State and Economic Performance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 171-98, June.
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