Human development, public expenditure and economic growth: a system dynamics approach
Muhammad Azeem Qureshi
Purpose – It is now widely recognized that human development (HD) and economic growth (EG) are intertwined in two-way feedback processes either leading to an upward spiral of development or a poverty trap. This concept is used to overcome one of the limitations of a previous study by Qureshi which assumes exogenous gross domestic product (GDP). With endogenous GDP formulation, the impact of public expenditure on HD and EG in Pakistan is examined. Design/methodology/approach – System dynamics approach is used to model, identify and help manage the development path of HD and EG in Pakistan given alternative policies for public expenditure on HD and EG. For this purpose the model endogenously determines path of population cohorts, and education, health and economic indicators. Findings – The simulation results suggest that the current level of public expenditure on HD is extremely low and any further decrease will have irreversible negative impact on HD and economic indicators, even if the resources so saved are effectively invested in EG. Further, higher public expenditure on EG may neither result into better HD indicators nor economic indicators. On the contrary, higher public expenditure on HD not only improves HD indicators but also supplements EG. The results of this study conform to the results of earlier research and challenge the very basis of fiscal policy in Pakistan which has continually ignored HD over decades. Research limitations/implications – The model boundary excludes possible causal links of public expenditure, HD and income distribution. Identification and inclusion of these causalities may improve understanding of perpetuating asymmetric income distribution in Pakistan its role in HD and EG trade-off. Practical implications – This paper suggests reorientation of fiscal policy in Pakistan and to anchor it to HD by allocating more public funds. Originality/value – The unique characteristic of this model is explicit modelling of population cohorts in a two-way feedback relationship with economic development considering the delays and non-linearities involved in this process.
Design and development, Economic growth, Income policy, Pakistan, Population, Public finance
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