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Effects of Growth and Volatility in Public Expenditures on Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence

  • Liutang Gong

    (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
    Institute for Advanced Study, Wuhan University)

  • Heng-fu Zou

    (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
    Institute for Advanced Study, Wuhan University
    Development Research Group, The World Bank)

This paper sets up a theoretical model linking the growth rate of the economy to the growth rate and volatility of different government expenditures. On a theoretical basis, it is found that volatility in government spending can be positively or negatively associated with economic growth depending on the intertemporal elasticity in consumption. On an empirical basis, it is rather surprising to find no association between growth in capital expenditure and output growth, whereas growth in current expenditure seems to stimulate output growth. In particular, growth in transportation and communication seems to have a negative effect on output growth. It is also very interesting to find that the rises in the volatility in the growth of general public services, transportation, and communication have a positive effect on output growth.

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Paper provided by China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics in its series CEMA Working Papers with number 494.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 3(2), pages 379-406, November.
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:494
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/

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  1. Bertola, Giuseppe & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," CEPR Discussion Papers 599, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1992. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Sule Ozler & Nouriel Roubini & Phillip Swagel, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Fischer, Stanley, 1993. "The role of macroeconomic factors in growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 485-512, December.
  8. David Romer, 1991. "Openness and inflation: theory and evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  9. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
  10. Peltzman, Sam, 1980. "The Growth of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 209-87, October.
  11. Shantayanan Devarajan & Vinaya Swaroop & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," CEMA Working Papers 77, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  12. Turnovsky, Stephen J, 1993. "Macroeconomic Policies, Growth, and Welfare in a Stochastic Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(4), pages 953-81, November.
  13. Ramey, Garey & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link between Volatility and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1138-51, December.
  14. Eaton, Jonathan, 1981. "Fiscal Policy, Inflation and the Accumulation of Risky Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 435-45, July.
  15. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  16. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Fisher, Walter H., 1995. "The composition of government expenditure and its consequences for macroeconomic performance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 747-786, May.
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