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Is the Public Investment Multiplier Higher in Developing Countries? An Empirical Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Alejandro Izquierdo
  • Ruy E. Lama
  • Juan Pablo Medina
  • Jorge P. Puig
  • Daniel Riera-Crichton
  • Carlos A. Vegh
  • Guillermo Vuletin

Abstract

Over the last decade, empirical studies analyzing macroeconomic conditions that may affect the size of government spending multipliers have flourished. Yet, in spite of their obvious public policy importance, little is known about public investment multipliers. In particular, the clear theoretical implication that public investment multipliers should be higher (lower) the lower (higher) is the initial stock of public capital has not, to the best of our knowledge, been tested. This paper tackles this empirical challenge and finds robust evidence in favor of the above hypothesis: countries with a low initial stock of public capital (as a proportion of GDP) have significantly higher public investment multipliers than countries with a high initial stock of public capital. This key finding seems robust to the sample (European countries, U.S. states, and Argentine provinces) and identification method (Blanchard-Perotti, forecast errors, and instrumental variables). Our results thus suggest that public investment in developing countries would carry high returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Izquierdo & Ruy E. Lama & Juan Pablo Medina & Jorge P. Puig & Daniel Riera-Crichton & Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2019. "Is the Public Investment Multiplier Higher in Developing Countries? An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 26478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26478
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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