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Social Capital, Government Expenditures, and Growth

Listed author(s):
  • Ugo Troiano

    (Harvard University)

  • Giacomo Ponzetto

    (CREI and Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Countries with greater social capital have higher economic growth. We show that social capital is also highly positively correlated across countries with government expenditure on education. We develop an infinite-horizon model of public spending and endogenous stochastic growth that explains both facts through frictions in political agency when voters have imperfect information. In our model, the government provides services that yield immediate utility, and investment that raises future productivity. Voters are more likely to observe public services, so politicians have electoral incentives to under-provide public investment. Social capital increases voters' awareness of all government activity. As a consequence, both politicians' incentives and their selection improve. In the dynamic equilibrium, both the amount and the efficiency of public investment increase, permanently raising the growth rate.

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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_1048.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 1048.

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Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:1048
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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