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Growth of public consumption in Austria: Testing Wagner's law and Baumol's cost disease

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  • Köppl-Turyna, Monika
  • Kucsera, Dénes
  • Neck, Reinhard

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the development of public consumption expenditure in Austria starting in the 1940s. We focus our attention on two hypotheses as to why public consumption expenditure has been constantly increasing: Wagner's law and Baumol's cost disease. The estimated income elasticity of demand for public consumption expenditure of 0.85 suggests that Wagner's law is not confirmed. In contrast, price-inelastic demand combined with a strong increase in the prices of public services relative to private goods suggest that Baumol's cost disease is at work. A counterfactual exercise shows that in the absence of the rise in the relative price of publicly provided goods, current public consumption would equal 15.98% of GDP instead of the actually observed 19.92%. We further confirm the main observations using a cointegration model.

Suggested Citation

  • Köppl-Turyna, Monika & Kucsera, Dénes & Neck, Reinhard, 2017. "Growth of public consumption in Austria: Testing Wagner's law and Baumol's cost disease," Working Papers 10, Agenda Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:agawps:10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-296, June.
    2. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    3. Borcherding, Thomas E & Deacon, Robert T, 1972. "The Demand for the Services of Non-Federal Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 891-901, December.
    4. Michael Christl & Monika Köppl–Turyna, 2018. "Tax competition and the political economy of public employment: a model for Austria," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 607-638, August.
    5. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
    6. Peltzman, Sam, 1980. "The Growth of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 209-287, October.
    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. Dimitrios Sideris, 2007. "Wagner's Law in 19th Century Greece: A Cointegration and Causality Analysis," Working Papers 64, Bank of Greece.
    9. Nordhaus William D, 2008. "Baumol's Diseases: A Macroeconomic Perspective," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-39, February.
    10. Borcherding, Thomas E., 1985. "The causes of government expenditure growth: A survey of the U.S. evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 359-382, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wagner's law; Baumol's cost disease; Austria; public consumption;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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