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Public Investment, Economic Performance and Budgetary Consolidation: VAR Evidence for the 12 Euro Countries

Author

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  • Alfredo M. Pereira

    () (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Maria de Fátima Pinho

    () (Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administração)

Abstract

In a period of heightened concern about fiscal consolidation in the euro area a politically expedient way of controlling the public budget is to cut public investment. A critical question, however, is whether or not political expediency comes at a cost, in terms of both long-term economic performance and future budgetary contention efforts. First, common wisdom suggests that public investments have positive effects on economic performance although the empirical evidence is less clear. Second, it is conceivable that public investment has such strong effects on output, that over time it generates enough additional tax revenues to pay for itself. Obviously, it is equally plausible that the effects on output although positive are not strong enough for the public investment to pay for itself. In this paper we investigate these issues empirically for the twelve countries in the euro area using a vector auto-regressive approach. We conclude that the euro countries can be gathered in four groups according to the nature of the economic and budgetary impact of public investment. The first group includes Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands, where the economic effects are either negative or positive but very small and, therefore, cuts will be harmless for the economy and effective from a budgetary perspective. The second group includes Finland, Portugal, and Spain, where public investment does not pay for itself and, therefore, cuts are an effective tool of budgetary consolidation although they are harmful for the economy. The third group includes France, Greece, and Ireland where public investment just pays for itself and therefore cuts are not an effective way of achieving long-term budgetary consolidation and are harmful for the economy. Finally, the fourth group includes Germany and Italy, where public investment more than pays for itself and, therefore, cuts are not only harmful for the economy but also counterproductive from a budgetary perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfredo M. Pereira & Maria de Fátima Pinho, 2006. "Public Investment, Economic Performance and Budgetary Consolidation: VAR Evidence for the 12 Euro Countries," Working Papers 40, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:40
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    File URL: http://economics.wm.edu/wp/cwm_wp40.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Guillermo Perry & Luis Servén & Rodrigo Suescún, 2008. "Fiscal Policy, Stabilization, and Growth : Prudence or Abstinence," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6818, September.
    2. Ulrich Klüh & Wolfgang Wiegard & Karl-Hans Hartwig & Thomas Bauer & Busso Grabow, 2009. "Konjunkturpaket II: Was bringen Investitionen in Infrastruktur?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 62(02), pages 03-15, January.
    3. Alfredo Pereira & Maria Pinho, 2008. "Public investment and budgetary consolidation in Portugal," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 7(3), pages 183-203, December.
    4. repec:idb:idbbks:356 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (ed.), 2007. "Staatsverschuldung wirksam begrenzen. Expertise im Auftrag des Bundesministers für Wirtschaft und Technologie," Occasional Reports / Expertisen, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, number 75368.
    6. Shaun K. Roache, 2007. "Public Investment and Growth in the Eastern Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 07/124, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Alfredo M. Pereira & Jorge M. Andraz, 2012. "On The Economic Effects Of Investment In Railroad Infrastructures In Portugal," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 37(2), pages 79-107, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public investment; economic performance; budgetary consolidation; euro area;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures

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