, Volume 81, Issue 3-4, pp 381-401

A new framework for testing the effect of government spending on growth and productivity

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Does government spending have a positive or negative effect on economic growth? The results of earlier empirical studies give mixed results. In this study we suggest a new method for testing the effect of different kinds of government expenditure on productivity growth in the private sector. The focus on productivity in the private sector and the use of disaggregated data makes it possible to avoid or mitigate a number of methodological problems.

The major conclusions, which are quite robust, are that government transfers, consumption and total outlays have consistently negative effects, while educational expenditure has a positive effect, and government investment has no effect on private productivity growth.

The impact is also found to work solely through total factor productivity and not via the marginal productivity of labor and capital.

Financial support fromJan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius stiftelse för samhällsvetenskaplig forskning is gratefully acknowledged.