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Government expenditure and economic growth in the EU: long-run tendencies and short-term adjustment


  • Alfonso Arpaia
  • Alessandro Turrini


This paper analyses both the long and the short-run relation between government expenditure and potential output in EU countries by means of pooled mean group estimation (Pesaran, Shin, and Smith (1999)). Results show that, over a sample comprising EU-15 countries over the 1970-2003 period, it cannot be rejected the hypothesis of a common long-term elasticity between cyclically-adjusted primary expenditure and potential output close to unity. However, the long-run elasticity decreased considerably over the decades and is significantly higher than unity in catching-up countries, in fast-ageing countries, in low-debt countries, and in countries with weak numerical rules for the control of government spending. The average speed of adjustment of government expenditure to its long-tem relation is 3 years, but there are significant differences across countries. Anglo-Saxon and Nordic countries exhibit in general a faster adjustment process, while adjustment in Southern European countries appears somehow slower.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfonso Arpaia & Alessandro Turrini, 2008. "Government expenditure and economic growth in the EU: long-run tendencies and short-term adjustment," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 300, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  • Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0300

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    8. Kumar, Saten, 2009. "Further Evidence on Public Spending and Economic Growth in East Asian Countries," MPRA Paper 19298, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Magazzino, Cosimo, 2010. "Wagner's law and Italian disaggregated public spending: some empirical evidences," MPRA Paper 26662, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Bruno Albuquerque & Ursel Baumann & Georgi Krustev, 2014. "Has US Household Deleveraging Ended? A Model-Based Estimate of Equilibrium Debt," Working Papers w201404, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
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    12. Péter Halmai & Viktória Vásáry, 2010. "Real convergence in the new Member States of the European Union (Shorter and longer term prospects)," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 7(1), pages 229-253, June.
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    15. Saten Kumar & Don J. Webber & Scott Fargher, 2009. "Wagner’s Law Revisited: Cointegration and Causality tests for New Zealand," Working Papers 0917, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
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    18. Magazzino, Cosimo, 2012. "Wagner versus Keynes: Public spending and national income in Italy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 890-905.
    19. Alessandro Turrini, 2008. "Fiscal policy and the cycle in the Euro Area: The role of government revenue and expenditure," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 323, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.


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