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Infrastructure Capital and Economic Growth: How Well You Use It May Be More Important Than How Much You Have

  • Charles R. Hulten
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    This paper shows that those low and middle income countries that use infrastructure inefficiently pay a growth penalty in the form of a much smaller benefit from infrastructure investments. The magnitude of this penalty is apparent when the growth experience of Africa is compared with that of East Asia: over one-quarter of the differential growth rate between these two regions can be attributed to the difference in effective use of infrastructure resources. At the same time, the difference due to new public capital formation is negligible. An even stronger impression is conveyed by the comparison of high and low growth rate economies. Here, more than forty percent of the growth differential is due to the efficiency effect, making it the single most important explanator of differential growth performance.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5847.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5847.

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    Date of creation: Dec 1996
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5847
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    1. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    3. Malcolm D. Knight & Delano Villanueva & Norman Loayza, 1992. "Testing the Neoclassical Theory of Economic Growth; A Panel Data Approach," IMF Working Papers 92/106, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Weitzman, Martin L, 1970. "Optimal Growth with Scale Economies in the Creation of Overhead Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 555-70, October.
    5. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
    6. David A. Aschauer, 1989. "Public investment and productivity growth in the Group of Seven," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Sep, pages 17-25.
    7. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
    8. Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
    10. David Aschauer, 1988. "Is public expenditure productive?," Staff Memoranda 88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    11. Hulten, Charles R, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change Is Embodied in Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 964-80, September.
    12. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
    13. Charles R. Hulten, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change is Embodied in Capital," NBER Working Papers 3971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. 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.
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