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How can public spending help you grow? an empirical analysis for developing countries

  • Bayraktar, Nihal
  • Moreno-Dodson, Blanca
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    Although many studies indicate that both the level and composition of public spending are significant for economic growth, the results in the empirical literature are still mixed. This paper studies the importance of country sample selection and expenditure classification in explaining these conflicting results. It investigates a set of fast-growing countries versus a mix of countries with different growth patterns. The regression specifications include different components of public expenditure and total fiscal revenues, always considering the overall government budget constraint. Total public spending is first disaggregated using a definition that classifies public spending as productive versus unproductive components, an a priori criterion that is based on the expected impact of public spending items on the private sector production function. After empirically confirming the validity of this definition in the panel analysis, the authors suggest and test an alternative definition of"core"public spending that may be more appropriate for developing countries. The empirical analysis shows that the link between growth and public spending, especially the productive and"core"components, is strong only for the fast-growing group. In addition, macroeconomic stability, openness, and private sector investment are significant in the fast-growing group, which points to the existence of an economic policy environment more conducive to growth in the first group of countries. The authors conclude that public spending can be a significant determinant of growth for countries that are capable of using funds for productive purposes.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5367.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jul 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5367
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    1. Sanjeev Gupta & Alejandro Simone & Alex Segura-Ubiergo, 2006. "New Evidenceon Fiscal Adjustment and Growth in Transition Economies," IMF Working Papers 06/244, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Benos, Nikos, 2009. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: empirical evidence from EU countries," MPRA Paper 19174, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1998. "Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries," Working Paper Series 503, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 20 Jun 2000.
    4. Rogers, Mark Llewellyn, 2008. "Directly unproductive schooling: How country characteristics affect the impact of schooling on growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 356-385, February.
    5. Benedict J. Clements & Sanjeev Gupta & Emanuele Baldacci & Carlos Mulas-Granados, 2002. "Expenditure Composition, Fiscal Adjustment, and Growth in Low-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 02/77, International Monetary Fund.
    6. James Ang, 2009. "Do public investment and FDI crowd in or crowd out private domestic investment in Malaysia?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(7), pages 913-919.
    7. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
    8. Philip Grossman, 1988. "Government and economic growth: A non-linear relationship," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 193-200, February.
    9. Sugata Ghosh & Andros Gregoriou, 2008. "The composition of government spending and growth: is current or capital spending better?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 484-516, July.
    10. Michael Bleaney & Norman Gemmell & Richard Kneller, 2001. "Testing the endogenous growth model: public expenditure, taxation, and growth over the long run," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(1), pages 36-57, February.
    11. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1997. "Productive government expenditures and long-run growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 183-204, January.
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