The Role of State Fiscal Policy in State Economic Growth
Do state policy makers have the ability to affect a state's rate of economic growth? This article examines one possible source of growth and per capita output level disparities by studying the role that state taxation and public expenditure decisions play in fostering economic development. Using pooled annual U.S. state-level data from 1972 to 1998, a fixed-effects model is employed to examine the effects of changing tax rates on both state per capita output levels and growth rates. The results indicate that higher tax rates negatively influence short-run state economic growth, which lowers state output levels. However, long-run growth is unaffected by changes in state tax rates, even after adjusting for the effects of initial per capita output levels, state expenditures, and aid from the federal government. Nor do changes in state public spending rates and federal aid permanently alter state growth rates, implying that state fiscal policies have only transitory effects on state growth. (JEL "H71", "O40", "R11") Copyright 2004 Western Economic Association International.
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