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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. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," NBER Working Papers 10835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giacomo Ponzetto, 2011. "Heterogeneous Information and Trade Policy," Working Papers 596, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Gino Gancia & Alessandra Bonfiglioli, 2012. "The Political Cost of Reforms," 2012 Meeting Papers 291, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. James M. Snyder, Jr. & David Strömberg, 2008. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nannicini, Tommaso & Stella, Andrea & Tabellini, Guido & Troiano, Ugo, 2010. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 7782, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  9. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 28, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  10. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  11. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U.S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728, 05.
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