Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #557

The Political Economy of Public Investment when Population is Aging – A Panel Cointegration Analysis

by Phillip Jäger and Torsten Schmidt

RWI, 05/2015, 19 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-638-3 DOI: 10.4419/86788638

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Abstract

Time preferences vary by age. Notably, according to experimental studies, senior citizens tend to discount future payoffs more heavily than working-age individuals. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that demographic change has contributed to the cut-back in government-financed investment that many advanced economies experienced over the last four decades. We demonstrate for a panel of 13 OECD countries between 1971 and 2007 that the share of elderly voters and public investment rates are cointegrated, indicating a long-run relationship between them. Estimating this cointegration relationship via pooled dynamic OLS (D-OLS) and fully modified OLS (FM-OLS) we find a negative and significant effect of population aging on public investment. Moreover, the estimation of an error correction model reveals long-run Granger causality running exclusively from aging to investment. Our results are robust to the inclusion of additional control variables typically considered in literature on the determinants of public investment.

JEL-Classification: H54, D72, J11, J14

Keywords: Public investment; population aging; panel cointegration

Published as:

Jäger, P. and T. Schmidt (2016), The Political Economy of Public Investment when Population is Aging – A Panel Cointegration Analysis. European Journal of Political Economy 43 : 145-158. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2016.04.004  download

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