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Brains, drains, and roads, growth hills: complementarity between public education and infrastructure in a half-century panel of states

Stone, Joe and Bania, Neil (2009): Brains, drains, and roads, growth hills: complementarity between public education and infrastructure in a half-century panel of states.

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Abstract

Applying a Barro-style model of endogenous growth to a fifty-year panel of states from 1957 to 2007, We examine the extent to which expenditures on public education and infrastructure— together with the taxes necessary to support them— enhance or impede the steady-state growth of state and local economies, as measured by per capita personal income. Our findings suggest that the independent effect of tax expenditures on either public infrastructure or education alone is significantly negative, but the complementary effect of each on the other is positive enough to make their combined effect significantly positive— except at large scales, where we find diseconomies, consistent with the ‘growth hill’ predicted by theory. Policy effects are identified empirically using a recursive structure with very long lags, GMM/instrumental variables, and controls for both fixed and time-varying heterogeneity. Results are robust to a variety of alternative specifications.

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