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Is There a Laffer Curve Between Output and Public Sector Employment?


  • Koskela, Erkki
  • Virén, Matti


This paper develops a model of the relationship between public sector employment, total output and aggregate real demand in market prices, where public employment has a positive productivity effect on private output and where public employment crowds out private employment and output via wage and tax effects. Also the valuation of government output is taken into account. While public employment affects total output and aggregate disposable income in an a priori ambiguous way, numerical simulations suggest that the relationship may be nonlinear; positive, when public sector is "small" and negative when it is "large". Using the annual data from 22 OECD countries over the period 1960 - 1996 and estimating and testing for threshold models gives support to this nonlinearity hypothesis between public employment and output.

Suggested Citation

  • Koskela, Erkki & Virén, Matti, 1999. "Is There a Laffer Curve Between Output and Public Sector Employment?," Discussion Papers 194, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fer:dpaper:194

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fullerton, Don, 1982. "On the possibility of an inverse relationship between tax rates and government revenues," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-22, October.
    2. Riech, Utz P, 1986. "Treatment of Government Activity on the Production Account," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 32(1), pages 69-85, March.
    3. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1997. "Growth and the public sector: A critical review essay," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 33-52, February.
    4. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    5. Aschauer, David Alan, 1985. "Fiscal Policy and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 117-127, March.
    6. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
    7. Seater, John J, 1993. "Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 142-190, March.
    8. Hansen, Bruce E, 1996. "Inference When a Nuisance Parameter Is Not Identified under the Null Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 413-430, March.
    9. Grossman, Herschel I & Lucas, Robert F, 1974. "The Macro-Economic Effects of Productive Public Expenditures," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 42(2), pages 162-170, June.
    10. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Does public capital crowd out private capital?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-188, September.
    11. Kormendi, Roger C, 1983. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 994-1010, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Virén, Matti, 1999. "Fiscal Policy, Automatic Stabilisers and Policy Coordination in EMU," Discussion Papers 204, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Kiander, Jaakko & Virén, Matti, 2000. "Do automatic stabilisers take care of asymmetric shocks in the euro area?," Discussion Papers 234, VATT Institute for Economic Research.


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