On the optimality of public capital for long-run economic growth: evidence from panel data
The role of public capital in economic growth is examined using data from the Penn World Tables and other sources on a large number of countries. Drawing on intertemporal optimization, the theoretical framework nests the exogenous (Solow) and endogenous types of growth and is data-consistent. It is found that public capital makes a significant contribution to growth. The actual level of investment on public capital is suboptimal. Growth in recent decades can be characterized as 'endogenous' with little sign of convergence. There is evidence of a growth slow-down between the 1970s and 1980s. Human capital also significantly enhances growth.