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Social Capital, Government Expenditures, and Growth

  • Giacomo Ponzetto
  • Ugo Troiano

We present a tractable stochastic endogenous growth model that explains how social capital influences economic development. In our model, social capital increases citizens' awareness of government activity. Hence, it alleviates the electoral incentives to under- invest in education, whose returns are delayed and less visible to voters. In equilibrium, higher social capital raises the average output growth rate and reduces its volatility by increasing public investment in education while making its returns higher and less variable. Our theory also predicts that a more unequal distribution of social capital reduces public education expenditures. We provide suggestive cross-country evidence consistent with these predictions.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 612.

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Date of creation: Jul 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:612
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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
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  10. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
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  14. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ponzetto, Giacomo A.M., 2014. "Shrouded costs of government: The political economy of state and local public pensions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 89-105.
  15. Amir N. Licht & Chanan Goldschmidt & Shalom H. Schwartz, 2003. "Culture Rules: The Foundations of the Rule of Law and Other Norms of Governance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-605, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  16. M. Keith Chen, 2011. "The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1820, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Dec 2012.
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  21. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2044, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  22. M. Keith Chen, 2013. "The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 690-731, April.
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  25. Yehonatan Givati & Ugo Troiano, 2012. "Law, Economics, and Culture: Theory of Mandated Benefits and Evidence from Maternity Leave Policies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 339 - 364.
  26. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto, 2013. "Shrouded Costs of Government: Political Economy of State and Local Public Pensions Data," Working Papers 660, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  27. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
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