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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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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2206.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2206
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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Federico Bonaglia & Eliana La Ferrara & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2000. "Public Capital and Economic Performance: Evidence from Italy," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 59(2), pages 221-244, September.
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