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The composition of government spending and growth: is current or capital spending better?

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  • Sugata Ghosh
  • Andros Gregoriou

Abstract

In an endogenous growth framework with two public goods with differing productivities, this paper analytically characterizes optimal fiscal policy for a decentralized economy, whereby the optimal values of the growth rate, tax rate and expenditure shares on the two public goods are linked directly to their productivity parameters. Using panel data for 15 developing countries over 28 years, we show using GMM techniques, that current (capital) spending has positive (negative) and significant effects on the growth rate, contrary to commonly held views. For instance, spending on operations and maintenance has a stronger impact on growth than both health and education spending. We consider the various components on the revenue side of the government budget constraint to take into account possible omitted variable bias that could arise if tax revenue alone was considered. Copyright 2008 , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Sugata Ghosh & Andros Gregoriou, 2008. "The composition of government spending and growth: is current or capital spending better?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 484-516, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:60:y:2008:i:3:p:484-516
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oep/gpn005
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