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Public Investment and Corruption in an Endogenous Growth Model

  • Tarhan, Simge
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    High capital spending is favored by economists and politicians for its beneficial effects on economic growth. However, there is empirical research associating high levels of public investment with low economic growth due to corruption. I provide an endogenous growth model with Ramsey taxation that is consistent with this empirical finding. In the model, government maximizes the weighted average of consumers' utility and its own utility coming from expropriation of tax revenues. The weight determines the benevolence of the government. I show that a self-interested government sets a higher public-to-private-capital ratio than a benevolent one, reducing the productivity of public capital, in order to use more of the tax revenues for its own consumption. While a large public-to-private capital ratio increases the productivity of private investment, high taxes that come along with high public capital spending reduce the after-tax returns to private investment, causing the growth rate to be low.

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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21319.

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    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
    Date of revision: 11 Mar 2010
    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21319
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    1. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    2. 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.
    3. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 645-61, October.
    4. Paolo Mauro, 2004. "The Persistence of Corruption and Slow Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(1), pages 1.
    5. David Aschauer, 1988. "Is public expenditure productive?," Staff Memoranda 88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. M. Emranul Haque & Richard Kneller, 2008. "Public Investment and Growth: The Role of Corruption," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 98, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    7. Shantayanan Devarajan & Vinaya Swaroop & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," CEMA Working Papers 77, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    8. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
    9. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E & Rossi, Peter E, 1993. "Optimal Taxation in Models of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 485-517, June.
    10. Marina Azzimonti-Renzo & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte & Jorge Soares, 2003. "Optimal public investment with and without government commitment," Working Paper 03-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    11. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
    12. Futagami, Koichi & Morita, Yuichi & Shibata, Akihisa, 1993. " Dynamic Analysis of an Endogenous Growth Model with Public Capital," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 607-25, December.
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