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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. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stephen Bond & Anke Hoeffler & Jonathan Temple, 2001. "GMM Estimation of Empirical Growth Models," Economics Papers 2001-W21, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1995. "The Welfare State and Economic Performance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 171-98, June.
  6. Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1999. "Growth and the public sector: a critique of the critics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 337-358, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  9. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1998. "Growth and the Public Sector: A reply," Working Paper Series 1999:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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