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Does Optimal Government Size Exist for Developing Economies? The Case of Nigeria

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  • Alimi, R. Santos

Abstract

Government size, its roles and the efficiency of the public sector has becomes a more important issue recently especially when the financial crisis has covered severely almost all Economies worldwide. Using time-series techniques, this study empirically tests the validity of existing theory (Barro, 1990; and Armey, 1995) which stipulates there is a nonlinear relationship between government size and economic growth; such that government spending is growth-enhancing at low levels but growth-retarding at high levels, with the optimal size occurring somewhere in between. This study employed three estimation equations. First, for the size of government, two measures are considered as follows: (i) share of total expenditures to gross domestic product, (ii) share of recurrent expenditures to gross domestic product. Second, the study adopted real GDP (without government expenditure component), as a variant measure of economic growth other than the real total GDP, in estimating the optimal level of government expenditure. The study is based on annual Nigeria country-level data for the period 1970 to 2012. Estimation results show that the inverted U-shaped curve exists for the two measures of government size and the estimated optimum shares are 19.81% and 10.98% respectively. Finally, with the adoption of real GDP (without government expenditure component),the optimum government size was found to be 12.58% of GDP. Our analysis shows that the actual share of government spending on average (2000 - 2012) is about 13.4%. This study adds to the literature confirming that the optimal government size exists not only for developed economies, but also for developing economy like Nigeria. Thus a public intervention threshold level that fosters economic growth is a reality; beyond this point economic growth should be left in the hands of the private sector. This finding has a significant implication for the appraisal of government spending and budgetary policy design.

Suggested Citation

  • Alimi, R. Santos, 2014. "Does Optimal Government Size Exist for Developing Economies? The Case of Nigeria," MPRA Paper 56073, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:56073
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/56073/1/MPRA_paper_56073.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pelin Varol Iyidogan & Taner Turan, 2017. "Government Size and Economic Growth in Turkey: A Threshold Regression Analysis," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2017(2), pages 142-154.
    2. Pelin Varol Iyidogan & Taner Turan, . "Government Size and Economic Growth in Turkey: A Threshold Regression Analysis," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 0, pages 1-13.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public Expenditure; Economic Growth; Optimum Level; Fully Modified OLS;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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