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How Productive is Public Capital? A Meta-Analysis

  • Pedro R. D. Bom
  • Jenny Ligthart

The paper analyzes the contribution of public capital to private output using several meta-analytical techniques. Both fixed and random effects models are estimated by Weighted Least Squares. Sample overlap across studies is explicitly controlled for by employing a ‘full’ Generalized Least Squares estimator. The weighted average output elasticity of public capital amounts to 0.08 after correcting for publication bias. A substantial part of the heterogeneity across studies is explained by study design parameters, such as econometric specification, estimation technique, empirical model, type of public capital, and level of aggregation of public capital data. The large elasticities of public capital found in the early literature seem to be caused by either unidentified (but present) cointegrating relationships or spurious relationships in national time series.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-01/cesifo1_wp2206.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2206.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2206
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  1. Alicia H. Munnell, 1990. "How does public infrastructure affect regional economic performance?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 34, pages 69-112.
  2. Jerome Creel & Gwenaëlle Poilon, 2006. "Is public capital productive in Europe?," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2006-10, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  3. Achim Kemmerling & Andreas Stephan, 2001. "The Contribution of Local Public Infrastructure to Private Productivity and Its Political-Economy: Evidence from a Panel of Large German Cities," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-14, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  4. Alicia H. Munnell, 1990. "Is there a shortfall in public capital investment? An overview," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 34, pages 1-20.
  5. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Policy Watch: Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 189-198, Fall.
  6. Christophe Kamps, 2006. "New Estimates of Government Net Capital Stocks for 22 OECD Countries, 1960-2001," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(1), pages 6.
  7. Eisner, Robert, 1994. "Real government saving and the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 111-126, March.
  8. T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
  9. David A. Aschauer, 1989. "Public investment and productivity growth in the Group of Seven," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Sep, pages 17-25.
  10. S. J. Erenburg, 1998. "Productivity, private and public capital, and real wage in the US," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(8), pages 491-495.
  11. Baltagi, Badi H & Pinnoi, Nat, 1995. "Public Capital Stock and State Productivity Growth: Further Evidence from an Error Components Model," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 351-59.
  12. Miguel D. Ramirez, 1998. "Does Public Investment Enhance Productivity Growth in Mexico? A Cointegration Analysis," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 63-82, Winter.
  13. Garcia-Mila, Teresa & McGuire, Therese J & Porter, Robert H, 1996. "The Effect of Public Capital in State-Level Production Functions Reconsidered," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 177-80, February.
  14. McMillin, W Douglas & Smyth, David J, 1994. "A Multivariate Time Series Analysis of the United States Aggregate Production Function," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 659-73.
  15. Ratner, Jonathan B., 1983. "Government capital and the production function for U.S. private output," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 213-217.
  16. Nader Nazmi & Miguel D. Ramirez, 1997. "Public And Private Investment And Economic Growth In Mexico," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(1), pages 65-75, 01.
  17. Raymond Batina, 1998. "On the Long Run Effects of Public Capital and Disaggregated Public Capital on Aggregate Output," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 263-281, July.
  18. David Owyong & Shandre Thangavelu, 2001. "An empirical study on public capital spillovers from the USA to Canada," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(11), pages 1493-1499.
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