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Nijkamp, Peter
Jacques Poot, Victoria
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 02-028/3
Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam and Rotterdam
The issue of whether the public sector enhances or retards long-run economic growth has been debated passionately in recent years. In this paper we use meta-analysis to shed light on the issue. A sample of 93 published studies, yielding 123 meta-observations, is used to examine the robustness of the evidence regarding the impact of fiscal policy on growth. We focus on five fiscal policy areas: general government consumption, tax rates, education expenditure, defence, and public infrastructure. Several meta-analytical techniques are applied, including frequency tabulation, logit analysis and rough set analysis. On balance, the evidence for a positive impact of policy on growth is rather weak, but the commonly identified importance of education and infrastructure is confirmed. The results are sensitive to several research design parameters. Cross-section studies are more likely to suggest a detrimental effect of big government on growth than studies using panel data, but they are unlikely to be able to correctly identify the growth impact of infrastructure. The probability that a study detects a significantly positive effect of public infrastructure on growth is the greater, the longer the time span of data used in the econometric analysis.
endogenous growth
fiscal policy
rough set analysis.
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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