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Reconsidering Wagner's Law: evidence from the functions of the government

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  • António Afonso,
  • José Alves

Abstract

We revisitWagner's law of increasing state expenditure by function of government expenditure. Using data of 14 European countries between 1996 and 2013, we apply panel data and SUR methods to assess public expenditure-income elasticities. We find that some functions of government spending for a few countries (e.g. Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Portugal) validate Wagner's law. For the Netherlands expenditures with environment protection increase more than proportionately to economic growth, and for France that is the case of spending in housing and community amenities. In addition, Greece is the only country where two public spending items react more than one to one to growth. Key Words : Fiscal Policies; Government spending; SUR estimation; Wagner's Law.

Suggested Citation

  • António Afonso, & José Alves, 2016. "Reconsidering Wagner's Law: evidence from the functions of the government," Working Papers Department of Economics 2016/09, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp092016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Durevall, Dick & Henrekson, Magnus, 2011. "The futile quest for a grand explanation of long-run government expenditure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 708-722, August.
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    9. Akitoby, Bernardin & Clements, Benedict & Gupta, Sanjeev & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2006. "Public spending, voracity, and Wagner's law in developing countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 908-924, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paparas, Dimitrios & Stoian, Andreea, 2016. "The validity of Wagner’s Law in Romania during 1995-2015," MPRA Paper 74378, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Livio Di Matteo & Fraser Summerfield, 2018. "The Shifting Scully Curve: International Evidence from 1870 to 2013," Working Paper series 18-01, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    3. Martin Ravallion, 2017. "Global Inequality when Unequal Countries Create Unequal People," NBER Working Papers 24177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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