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Public Capital and Income Distribution: a Marriage of Hicks & Newman-Read


  • Getachew, Yoseph

    () (UNU-MERIT)


This paper examines how publicly provided inputs could affect income distribution. By applying the Newman-Read production function- a generalized Cobb-Douglas production function- to Hicks's idea of the determinant of factor share, such usually complex dynamics remain analytically tractable. The paper shows that whether public capital has an effect on income distribution dynamics depends on its elasticity of substitution to private capital. If the elasticity of substitution of public capital to private capital is greater than unity, then an investment in public capital increases its relative income share and, hence, decreases the private capital share. In such a case, public capital would have a positive impact on income distribution dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Getachew, Yoseph, 2008. "Public Capital and Income Distribution: a Marriage of Hicks & Newman-Read," MERIT Working Papers 071, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2008071

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    Income distribution; public capital; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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