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A Primer on Public Investment in Europe, Old and New

Author

Listed:
  • Peree, Eric

    () (European Investment Bank, Economic and Financial Studies)

  • Valila, Timo

    () (European Investment Bank, Economic and Financial Studies)

Abstract

We take stock of what is known about public investment in the member states of the European Union, old and new alike. The interesting features about the long-term evolution of public investment have been its downtrend in old EU member states, bar the cohesion countries, and its volatility in new member states. The downtrend in the old member states cannot be traced back to EMU's fiscal rules per se, nor can it be explained by the emergence of innovative financing mechanisms for infrastructure, such as public-private partnerships. Rather, it is the result of drawn-out episodes of fiscal adjustment and consolidation, necessitated by long periods of unsustainable fiscal policies and deterioration of governments' net worth. We also examine the composition of public investment and conclude that only half of it comprises infrastructure investment in EU-15 and in EU-8, with a slightly higher share in the cohesion countries. The share of infrastructure investment, especially in traditional transport and other communications infrastructure, is in EU-8 somewhat higher than in old EU member states, but below the level in the cohesion countries. All this suggests for the new member states that the on-going build-up of their public capital stocks, especially infrastructure capital, requires the safeguarding of sufficient fiscal space to accommodate adequate public investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Peree, Eric & Valila, Timo, 2007. "A Primer on Public Investment in Europe, Old and New," Economic and Financial Reports 2007/1, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:eibefr:2007_001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:pal:imfstp:v:53:y:2006:i:1:p:120-150 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Aaron Mehrotra & Timo Välilä, 2006. "Public Investment in Europe: Evolution and Determinants in perspective," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(4), pages 443-471, December.
    3. Blanchard, Olivier J & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2004. "Improving the SGP Through a Proper Accounting of Public Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Christophe Kamps, 2006. "New Estimates of Government Net Capital Stocks for 22 OECD Countries, 1960-2001," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(1), pages 1-6.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giulia FELICE, 2009. "Size and composition of public investment, structural change and growth," Departmental Working Papers 2009-28, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano, revised 27 Dec 2011.
    2. Campiglio, Emanuele, 2014. "The structural shift to green services: A two-sector growth model with public capital and open-access resources," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 148-161.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public investment; European Union; Fiscal rules; public-private partnership;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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