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Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries: A Comment

In a recent article Stefan Fölster and Magnus Henrekson [2001] argue that “…the more the econometric problems that are addressed, the more robust the relationship between government size and economic growth appears”. But in failing to control for simultaneity in a valid manner the regressions reported by Fölster/Henrekson are flawed. Moreover, using theoretically valid instruments we find that the estimated partial correlation between size of the public sector and economic growth is statistically insignificant and highly unstable across specifications. A policy-maker who wants to promote growth is well-advised to look for other evidence than cross-country growth regressions.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2003:14.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: 06 Nov 2003
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2003_0014
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Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

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  1. Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 2001. "Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1501-1520, August.
  2. Joel Slemrod, 1995. "Involvement, Prosperity, and Economic Growth?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 373-431.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Growth of Nations," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1732, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Stephen Bond & Anke Hoeffler & Jonathan Temple, 2001. "GMM Estimation of Empirical Growth Models," Economics Papers 2001-W21, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1995. "The Welfare State and Economic Performance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 171-98, June.
  6. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  7. Agell, J. & Lindh, T. & Ohlsson, H., 1999. "Growth and the Public Sector: a Reply," Papers 1999:1, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  8. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
  9. R Blundell & Steven Bond, "undated". "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  10. Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1999. "Growth and the public sector: a critique of the critics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 337-358, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  13. Boozer, Michael A., 1997. "Econometric Analysis of Panel Data Badi H. Baltagi Wiley, 1995," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 747-754, October.
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