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Infrastructure in a structural model of economic growth

  • Holtz-Eakin, Douglas
  • Schwartz, Amy Ellen

Researchers, commentators, and politicians have devoted steadily more attention to infrastructure in response to claims that inadequate accumulation of public capital has contributed to substandard U.S. economic growth. Despite this, the link between infrastructure and productivity growth remains controversial. In this regard, it is somewhat surprising that infrastructure research has developed in isolation from the large literature on economic growth. We develop a neoclassical growth model that explicitly incorporates infrastructure and is designed to provide a tractable framework within which to analyze the empirical importance of public capital accumulation to productivity growth. We find little support for claims of a dramatic productivity boost from increased infrastructure outlays. In a specification designed to provide an upper bound for the influence of infrastructure, we estimate that raising the rate of infrastructure investment would have had a negligible impact on annual productivity growth between 1971 and 1986.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Regional Science and Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 25 (1995)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 131-151

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Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:25:y:1995:i:2:p:131-151
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  1. Randall W. Eberts, 1986. "Estimating the contribution of urban public infrastructure to regional growth," Working Paper 8610, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. 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.
  3. Alicia H. Munnell & Leah M. Cook, 1990. "How does public infrastructure affect regional economic performance?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 11-33.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Aschauer, 1988. "Is public expenditure productive?," Staff Memoranda 88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Kevin T. Duffy-Deno & Randall W. Eberts, 1989. "Public infrastructure and regional economic development: a simultaneous equations approach," Working Paper 8909, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "Solow and States: Capital Accumulation, Productivity, and Economic Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(4), pages 425-39, December.
  8. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1988. "Estimating Vector Autoregressions with Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1371-95, November.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Randall W. Eberts, 1990. "Public infrastructure and regional economic development," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 15-27.
  12. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "State-specific estimates of state and local government capital," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 185-209, April.
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