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Does federal contracting spur development? Federal contracts, income, output, and jobs in US cities

Michiel Gerritse and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose ()

Journal of Urban Economics, 2018, vol. 107, issue C, 121-135

Abstract: Firms and governments alike frequently court federal government contracts to generate more jobs and trigger economic growth. However, the employment and output impact of government contracts remains controversial. We use georeferenced data on United States (US) federal contracts, distinguishing between the location of the recipient and the location of the activity, for the years 2005–2014 in order to assess the employment and output impacts of federal contracting in metropolitan areas of the US. We resort to a shift-share instrument and precise location-specific fixed effects to estimate the causal impact of spending. Cities that receive more contract expenditure witness an expansion in output – with contracts generating $1.4 per dollar spent – but experience only modest increases in employment. The impact is also constrained geographically and short-lived. The results suggest that, on average, the effects of federal contracting on local economies are modest, meaning that attracting federal contracts may not be an effective urban development strategy.

Keywords: Federal contracting; Government spending; Jobs; Wages; Economic growth; Urban development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R11 R38 O23 E62 R58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Does federal contracting spur development? Federal contracts, income, output, and jobs in US cities (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Does federal contracting spur development? Federal contracts, income, output, and jobs in US cities (2016) Downloads
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