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Is there a shortfall in public capital investment? An overview


  • Alicia H. Munnell


This article summarizes the Bank’s economic conference held in June 1990. The conference aimed to determine the extent to which the United States may be underinvesting in public infrastructure, explain the potential economic consequences, and suggest mechanisms to help alleviate any adverse trends. It focused on public investment in physical capital only to make the topic manageable, and should not be interpreted to mean that investment in human capital is in any way less important. ; Two quite different perspectives on the need for more infrastructure investment emerge from the discussion. On one side are those who see a strong link between public capital investment and economic and social well-being; they view the current stock of public capital as inadequate and believe that additional investment is required. On the other side are those who are primarily concerned with the efficient use of existing infrastructure; they basically oppose increasing investment until the engineering, pricing, and financing of infrastructure are closer to the optimum.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:1991:i:may:p:23-35

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    1. Ott, Ingrid & Soretz, Susanne, 2006. "Infrastruktur als Investitionsdeterminante von KMU," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-329, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    2. Prabir De, 2010. "Governance, Institutions, and Regional Infrastructure in Asia," Working Papers id:3029, eSocialSciences.
    3. Haughwout, Andrew F., 2002. "Public infrastructure investments, productivity and welfare in fixed geographic areas," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 405-428, March.
    4. Vicente Esteve, 2004. "Política fiscal y productividad del trabajo en la economía española: un análisis de series temporales," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 19(1), pages 3-29, June.
    5. Brown, Stephen P. A. & Hayes, Kathy J. & Taylor, Lori L., 2003. "State and Local Policy, Factor Markets, and Regional Growth," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 33(1), pages 40-60.
    6. Primont, Diane F. & Domazlicky, Bruce R., 2005. "Which Matters Most to the Estimation of Efficiency and Productivity Growth in State Manufacturing: Method or Measurement?," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 35(2), pages 117-138.
    7. M.Rosaria Alfano & A. Laura Baraldi, 2008. "The design of electoral rules and their impact on economic growth: the Italian case," Working Papers 3_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    8. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew G. Resseger, 2010. "The Complementarity Between Cities And Skills," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 221-244.
    9. Rovolis, Antonis & Spence, Nigel, 1999. "Public infrastructure capital, scale economies and returns to variety," ERSA conference papers ersa99pa077, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Alberto Bucci & Chiara Del Bo, 2012. "On the interaction between public and private capital in economic growth," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 106(2), pages 133-152, June.
    11. R.W. Vickerman, 1994. "Transport Infrastructure and Region Building in the European Community," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(1), pages 1-24, March.
    12. JosÈ Manuel Gonz·lez-P·ramo & Diego MartÌnez LÛpez, "undated". "Public Investment and Convergence in the Spanish Regions," Studies on the Spanish Economy 112, FEDEA.
    13. Pedro R. D. Bom & Jenny Ligthart, 2008. "How Productive is Public Capital? A Meta-Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2206, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. John G. Fernald, 1999. "Roads to Prosperity? Assessing the Link between Public Capital and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 619-638, June.
    15. Domazlicky, Bruce R. & Weber, William, L., 1998. "Determinants of Total Factor Productivity, Technological Change, and Efficiency Differentials Among States, 1977-86," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 28(2), pages 19-34, Fall.
    16. Moreno Brid, Juan Carlos & Ros, Jaime, 2004. "Mexico's market reforms in historical perspective," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
    17. Palakiyèm Kpemoua, 2016. "Analyse de l'impact des infrastructures de transport sur la croissance économique du Togo," Working Papers hal-01389698, HAL.
    18. Clymer, Neil, 2015. "Aging U.S. Infrastructure," 商学討究 (Shogaku Tokyu), Otaru University of Commerce, vol. 66(1), pages 295-321.
    19. Zbigniew Mogila, 2015. "Conceptual model of the concept of the territorial cohesion," Working Papers 1517, Instytut Rozwoju, Institute for Development.
    20. Jiang, Xiushan & He, Xiang & Zhang, Lei & Qin, Huanhuan & Shao, Fengru, 2017. "Multimodal transportation infrastructure investment and regional economic development: A structural equation modeling empirical analysis in China from 1986 to 2011," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 43-52.
    21. Alex Mourmouras & José A. Tijerina, 1997. "Goverment investments in schooling and infrastucture: Ramsey vs. public choice paths in a lifecycle growth model," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 12(1), pages 3-21.
    22. Bruno Jullien & Frederic Rychen & Antoine Soubeyran, 2000. "Local Public Investment and Competition for a Firm," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1400, Econometric Society.
    23. Celbis, M.G. & Crombrugghe, D. de & Muysken, J., 2014. "Public investment and regional politics: The case of Turkey," MERIT Working Papers 020, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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