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Does the United States invest "too little?"


  • Milka Kirova
  • Robert E. Lipsey


The standard measures of nominal capital formation show the United States investing a proportion of GDP much lower than those of other developed countries throughout the last 2 years and falling further behind over time. In contrast, measures we have calculated in real terms across and over time indicate that U.S. investment ratios have been rising over time and have been coming closer and closer to those of the other countries. A broader measure of capital formation, more consonant with economic concepts, shows the United States to have been close to the other countries since 1970 and to have been investing an above average share of total output in the most recent period 1990-1994. Real capital formation per capita and per worker, even conventionally defined, have been consistently between 15 and 25 per cent higher than in the other countries and broadly defined real capital formation per capita and per worker have been 30 to 60 percent higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Milka Kirova & Robert E. Lipsey, 1997. "Does the United States invest "too little?"," Working Papers 1997-020, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1997-020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Milton Friedman & Simon Kuznets, 1954. "Income from Independent Professional Practice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie54-1, January.
    2. Fumio Hayashi, 1986. "Why Is Japan's Saving Rate So Apparently High?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 147-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    4. Horioka, Charles Yuji, 1995. "Is Japan's Household Saving Rate Really High?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 41(4), pages 373-397, December.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    6. Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
    7. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226301532 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    9. Walter Nonneman & Patrick Vanhoudt, 1996. "A Further Augmentation of the Solow Model and the Empirics of Economic Growth for OECD Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 943-953.
    10. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1991. "The International Comparison Program: Current Status and Problems," NBER Chapters,in: International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research, pages 437-468 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. NONNEMAN, Walter & VANHOUDT, Patrick, 1995. "A further augmentation of the Solow model and the empirics of economic growth for OECD countries," SESO Working Papers 1995005, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Milka Kirova & Robert E. Lipsey, 1998. "Measuring real investment: trends in the United States and international comparisons," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 3-18.
    2. E. Yndgaard & Palle S. Andersen & Marc Klau, 1999. "Higher profits and lower capital prices: is factor allocation optimal?," BIS Working Papers 65, Bank for International Settlements.

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    Capital ; Saving and investment;


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