OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

The Positive Effect of Public Investment on Potential Growth

An estimated baseline convergence model capturing the long-term effect of human capital and physical investment on potential output for a panel of OECD countries is augmented with public investment and its components. The estimations suggest that public investment has a positive effect on long-term growth and on labour productivity. Public investment can also increase the speed of convergence of catching-up countries. Public investment is more beneficial in some areas than others. This is particularly the case of public investment in health and in research and development. There is also evidence that growth gains from increasing public investment may decline at a high level of the public capital stock due to decreasing returns


Keywords: research and development, decreasing marginal returns, health investment, public investment, growth
JEL: H54: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: Infrastructures; Other Public Investment and Capital Stock; O40: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity / Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
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