Contribution of highway capital to industry and national productivity growth
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Contribution of highway capital to industry and national productivity growth

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    The United States and many other advanced industrial countries are concerned about the slow down in productivity growth since the early 1970s. Recent discussions in the literature have emphasized inadequate growth of infrastructure capital as a cause of the slow down in productivity at the aggregate and industry levels. The level of aggregation used in estimating production and cost functions varies considerably among the different studies. No consensus has yet emerged on the precise causes of the productivity growth slow down. To meet the challenge posed by the diversity of the sources of productivity growth and to better understand the role played in the process by infrastructure capital (which in this study refers to highway capital) the authors formulate a structural model that incorporates most of the important forces likely to explain productivity growth. The framework for this model includes the effects of a variety of demand and supply factors as well as highway infrastructure capital on the acceleration or deceleration in productivity growth. A significant feature of this study is its comprehensive coverage of the U.S. economy. The study explores the role that highway capital plays in enhancing private sector productivity, both at the aggregate economy and disaggregated industry levels.
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