Working Paper No. 864

Growth Effects of Fiscal Policies: A Critical Appraisal of Colombier’s (2009) Study

Published: March 3, 2011Pages: 12Keywords: Economic growth; Government size; Taxation; Robust estimators; Panel dataJEL-codes: E62; H11; H20; O43

Growth Effects of Fiscal Policies: A Critical Appraisal of Colombier’s (2009) Study Andreas Bergh and Nina Öhrn


In a recent paper, Colombier (2009) uses a robust estimation technique and claims to find empirical evidence that government size has not been detrimental to growth for OECD countries during the 1970 to 2001 period, and that endogenous growth theory is not corroborated. We examine the robustness of these findings, and show that Colombier’s results differ from those in other recent papers not because of the estimator used, but because of the exclusion of other control variables. Adding time fixed effects to Colombier’s data set, and using the same econometric method, we obtain results in line with other findings, corroborating endogenous growth theory. Adding further control variables illustrates the robustness of the negative correlation between total tax revenue and economic growth for both instrumented and non-instrumented regressions.

Andreas Bergh

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