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The Effect of Federal Government Size on Long-Term Economic Growth in the United States, 1792-2004

Author

Listed:
  • Federico Guerrero

    () (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

  • Elliott Parker

    () (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

Abstract

In this paper, we consider whether there is statistical evidence for a causal relationship between federal government expenditures and growth in real per-capita GDP in the United States, using available data going back to 1792. After studying the time-series properties of these variables for stationarity and cointegration, we investigate Granger causality in detail in the context of a Vector Error Correction Model. While we find causal evidence supporting Wagner’s Law, we find no evidence supporting the common assertion that a larger government sector leads to slower economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Guerrero & Elliott Parker, 2007. "The Effect of Federal Government Size on Long-Term Economic Growth in the United States, 1792-2004," Working Papers 07-002, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:unr:wpaper:07-002
    as

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    File URL: http://www.business.unr.edu/econ/wp/papers/UNRECONWP07002.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2007
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Murray, Christian J. & Nelson, Charles R., 2000. "The uncertain trend in U.S. GDP," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 79-95, August.
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    3. Zellner, Arnold, 1988. "Causality and causal laws in economics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 7-21.
    4. Anisul Islam, 2001. "Wagner's law revisited: cointegration and exogeneity tests for the USA," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(8), pages 509-515.
    5. Granger, C. W. J., 1988. "Some recent development in a concept of causality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 199-211.
    6. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
    7. Peacock, Alan & Scott, Alex, 2000. "The Curious Attraction of Wagner's Law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 1-17, January.
    8. Peter M. Jackson & Meryem Duygun Fethi & Sami Fethi, "undated". "Cointegration, Causality and Wagner's Law: A test for Northern Cyprus, 1977-1996," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 99/2, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    9. Jones, Jonathan D. & Joulfaian, David, 1991. "Federal govemment expenditures and revenues in the early years of the American republic: Evidence from 1792 to 1860," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 133-155.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    long-term economic growth; federal government size; Wagner’s Law; United States; cointegration; Granger causality; vector autoregression; vector error correction model;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • F39 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Other

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