Does Optimal Government Size Exist for Developing Economies? The Case of Nigeria
R. Alimi ()
MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany
Government size, its roles and the efficiency of the public sector has becomes a more important issue recently especially when the financial crisis has covered severely almost all Economies worldwide. Using time-series techniques, this study empirically tests the validity of existing theory (Barro, 1990; and Armey, 1995) which stipulates there is a nonlinear relationship between government size and economic growth; such that government spending is growth-enhancing at low levels but growth-retarding at high levels, with the optimal size occurring somewhere in between. This study employed three estimation equations. First, for the size of government, two measures are considered as follows: (i) share of total expenditures to gross domestic product, (ii) share of recurrent expenditures to gross domestic product. Second, the study adopted real GDP (without government expenditure component), as a variant measure of economic growth other than the real total GDP, in estimating the optimal level of government expenditure. The study is based on annual Nigeria country-level data for the period 1970 to 2012. Estimation results show that the inverted U-shaped curve exists for the two measures of government size and the estimated optimum shares are 19.81% and 10.98% respectively. Finally, with the adoption of real GDP (without government expenditure component),the optimum government size was found to be 12.58% of GDP. Our analysis shows that the actual share of government spending on average (2000 - 2012) is about 13.4%. This study adds to the literature confirming that the optimal government size exists not only for developed economies, but also for developing economy like Nigeria. Thus a public intervention threshold level that fosters economic growth is a reality; beyond this point economic growth should be left in the hands of the private sector. This finding has a significant implication for the appraisal of government spending and budgetary policy design.
Keywords: Public Expenditure; Economic Growth; Optimum Level; Fully Modified OLS (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C22 E62 H1 H50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-mac and nep-pbe
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pra:mprapa:56073
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