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Infrastructure in a Structural Model of Economic Growth

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  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • Amy Ellen Schwartz

Abstract

Researchers, commentators, and politicians have devoted steadily more attention to infrastructure in response to claims that inadequate accumulation of public capital has contributed to substandard U.S. economic growth. Despite this, the link between infrastructure and productivity growth remains controversial. In this regard, it is somewhat surprising that infrastructure research has developed in isolation from the large literature on economic growth. We develop a neoclassical growth model that explicitly incorporates infrastructure and is designed to provide a tractable framework within which to analyze the empirical importance of public capital accumulation to productivity growth. We find little support for claims of a dramatic productivity boost from increased infrastructure outlays. In a specification designed to provide an upper bound for the influence of infrastructure, we estimate that raising the rate of infrastructure investment would have had a negligible impact on annual productivity growth between 1971 and 1986.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Amy Ellen Schwartz, 1994. "Infrastructure in a Structural Model of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4824
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Duffy-Deno, Kevin T. & Eberts, Randall W., 1991. "Public infrastructure and regional economic development: A simultaneous equations approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 329-343, November.
    2. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1989. "The Revenues-Expenditures Nexus: Evidence from Local Government Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 415-429, May.
    3. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    4. Alicia H. Munnell, 1990. "Why has productivity growth declined? Productivity and public investment," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 3-22.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    6. Alicia H. Munnell, 1990. "How does public infrastructure affect regional economic performance?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 34, pages 69-112.
    7. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "State-specific estimates of state and local government capital," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 185-209, April.
    8. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1994. "Public-Sector Capital and the Productivity Puzzle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 12-21, February.
    9. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "Solow and States: Capital Accumulation, Productivity, and Economic Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 46(4), pages 425-439, December.
    10. Randall W. Eberts, 1986. "Estimating the contribution of urban public infrastructure to regional growth," Working Paper 8610, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    11. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "Solow and States: Capital Accumulation, Productivity, and Economic Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(4), pages 425-39, December.
    12. Morrison, Catherine J & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 1996. "State Infrastructure and Productive Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1095-1111, December.
    13. Randall W. Eberts, 1990. "Public infrastructure and regional economic development," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 15-27.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures

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