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Can the Composition of Capital Constrain Potential Output? A Gap Approach

Focusing on core-infrastructure capital vis-�-vis productive capital, we propose a macroeconomic method to determine both which type of capital shortage would be constraining potential output and what would be the optimal composition, or optimal ratio between these two types, of capital in any given period. This method is based on an adapted two-gap model, estimated via linear programming, and illustrated with the cases of Chile and Mexico over the 1950-2000 period. The results show that there appears to be an oscillating pattern over this period, with either type of capital shortage alternating each other. The results also show that, optimally, core infrastructure appears to support a variable level of productive investment over time. However, the shortage of productive capital would at least be as important as that of infrastructure capital, suggesting an optimal trade off between the two. That is, the social opportunity cost of investing in either type of capital would be determined by the gap between the optimal growth rates estimated from these two types of capital. For either type of capital, a macroeconomic shortage would mean that the economy as a whole is in a net state of shortage.

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File URL: http://www.econ.qmul.ac.uk/papers/doc/wp510.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 510.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp510
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  1. Evans, Paul & Karras, Georgios, 1994. "Is government capital productive? Evidence from a panel of seven countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 271-279.
  2. Edmar Bacha, 1982. "Growth with limited supplies of foreign exchanges: a reappraisal of the two-gap model," Textos para discussão 26, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  3. E. C. Mamatzakis, 1999. "Testing for long run relationship between infrastructure and private capital productivity: a time series analysis for the Greek industry," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 243-246.
  4. Ernst R. Berndt & Bengt Hansson, 1991. "Measuring the Contribution of Public Infrastructure Capital in Sweden," NBER Working Papers 3842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. J. M. Albala-Bertrand & E. C. Mamatzakis, 2001. "Is public infrastructure productive? Evidence from Chile," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 195-198.
  6. Edmar Bacha, 1989. "A three gap model of foreign transfers and GPD growth rate in developing countries," Textos para discussão 221, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
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