, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 113-123

The determinants of off-budget activity of state and local governments

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Conclusion

The primary finding of this paper is that the off-budget activity of the public sector is significantly and positively related to on-budget activity by state and local governments. We suggest the following policy implications. One, there appears to be evidence that the composition of total government activity is related to the relative costs of the alternative avenues of providing governmental activity. Future research into determining the nature of the relative cost differences may be one useful means of understanding both the composition of government activity as well as its total size. Two, our ability to measure the “true” size of public sector participation in the economy must go well beyond our attempt here. While we have presented information on one of the important “hidden” elements of public sector participation, we are still a long way from effectively incorporating similar data on legislation, regulations and so forth into our empirical tests. Further research into these issues is clearly warranted.

The valuable comments of a referee are appreciated. The views expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Department of Treasury.