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Congestion and Public Capital


  • Fisher, Walter H.

    (Department of Economics, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna)

  • Turnovsky, Stephen J.

    (Department of Economics, University of Washington)


This paper analyzes the impact of public investment on the dynamics of private capital formation in an intertemporal optimizing market-clearing framework. The key feature characterizing the analysis is that the public good is treated as a durable capital good, subject to congestion. We show how in the presence of congestion the effect of government investment on private capital formation involves a tradeoff between the degree of substitution between private and public capital in production and the degree of congestion. Both lump-sum and distortionary tax financing are considered, with this tradeoff being tightened in the latter case.

Suggested Citation

  • Fisher, Walter H. & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 1997. "Congestion and Public Capital," Economics Series 47, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:47

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    3. Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-1196, September.
    4. Robert J. Barro & Paul Romer, 1993. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr93-1, January.
      • Robert J. Barro & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr91-1, January.
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    6. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    7. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Fisher, Walter H., 1995. "The composition of government expenditure and its consequences for macroeconomic performance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 747-786, May.
    8. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1994. "Public investment in infrastructure in a simple growth model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1173-1187, November.
    9. Aschauer, David Alan, 1988. "The Equilibrium Approach to Fiscal Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 41-62, February.
    10. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-334, June.
    11. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Does public capital crowd out private capital?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-188, September.
    12. Futagami, Koichi & Morita, Yuichi & Shibata, Akihisa, 1993. " Dynamic Analysis of an Endogenous Growth Model with Public Capital," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 607-625, December.
    13. Aschauer, David Alan & Greenwood, Jeremy, 1985. "Macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 91-138, January.
    14. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    15. Edwards, John H. Y., 1990. "Congestion function specification and the "publicness" of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 80-96, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bishnu, Monisankar & Ghate, Chetan & Gopalakrishnan, Pawan, 2011. "Distortionary Taxes and Public Investment in a Model of Endogenous Investment Specific Technological Change," MPRA Paper 34111, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Bishnu, Monisankar & Ghate, Chetan & Gopalakrishnan, Pawan, 2016. "Factor income taxation, growth, and investment specific technological change," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 133-152.

    More about this item


    Congestion; Public Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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