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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. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. William Easterly & Sergio Rebelo, 1993. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 4499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld, 1992. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Romer, David, 1993. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 869-903, November.
  11. Peltzman, Sam, 1980. "The Growth of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 209-87, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Roubini, Nouriel & Swagel, Phillip & Ozler, Sule & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4553024, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
  15. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
  16. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 1996. " Political Instability and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 189-211, June.
  17. 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.
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