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A Framework for Efficient Government Investment

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  • Andrew M. Warner

Abstract

Welfare economics, scope and performance of government, externalities, public goods, cost-benefit analysis, subsidies economize on spending without losing effectiveness by modifying the conceptual framework guiding state expenditures. The familiar framework says that state intervention is justified when the spending provides public goods or when the intervention addresses externalities, provided the social return is above a threshold. This paper argues that another consideration needs to be brought into the mix - whether, in spite of the externalities, the private sector has an incentive to undertake the activity. It is argued that these two considerations together define a more efficient framework under which to justify state intervention. According to this modified framework, even a benign state interested in social welfare would not in fact address every externality nor necessarily select expenditures with the highest social returns. These points are summarized in a graph which is then used to analyze policy rules, subsidies and effective interaction between the state and the private sector. It is hoped that this paper points to the kind of information that needs to be collected and acted upon so that states may achieve their goals more effectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew M. Warner, 2013. "A Framework for Efficient Government Investment," IMF Working Papers 13/58, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/58
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    File URL: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=40362
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew Berg & Rafael A Portillo & Edward F Buffie & Catherine A Pattillo & Luis-Felipe Zanna, 2012. "Public Investment, Growth, and Debt Sustainability; Putting together the Pieces," IMF Working Papers 12/144, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nkrumah, Kwabena Meneabe, 2013. "Effect of Fiscal Policy Shocks in Brazil," MPRA Paper 72534, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Vitor Carvalho & Diogo Barbosa & Paulo Jorge Pereira, 2013. "The interaction between firms and Government in the context of investment decisions: a real options approach," EcoMod2013 5390, EcoMod.
    3. Barbosa, Diogo & Carvalho, Vitor M. & Pereira, Paulo J., 2016. "Public stimulus for private investment: An extended real options model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 742-748.
    4. Nkrumah, Kwabena Meneabe, 2013. "Effect of Fiscal Policy Shocks in Brazil," MPRA Paper 85432, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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