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This study examines the impact of government expenditure on economy growth in Nigeria. In the
light of the empirical review and other discussions, a number of questions arose as to whether
there is significant relationship between government recurrent expenditure and economic growth
of Nigeria, if there is significant relationship between government capital expenditure and
economic growth of Nigeria as well as to determine if there is significant relationship between
government transfer expenditure and economic growth of Nigeria. Using the Ordinary Least
Square (OLS) regression technique with the aid of computer software, for a 1993 – 2012 time
series data, the empirical findings revealed among other things, that government investment
expenditure has a significant impact on Nigeria’s economic growth. The study is recommends
that Transfer expenditure such as provident fund, pensions and other Social Security benefits
such as NHIS scheme positively affect the economic growth of Nigeria, and by using government
expenditure to achieve supply-side improvements in the macro-economy, such as spending on
education and training to improve labour productivity, the economic growth of Nigeria increases
it also considers that Administration expenditure, Capital and recurrent expenditure also affect
the economic growth of a country. On the strength of these evidences, this work recommends that
the Federal Government should be very conscious about how it uses the fiscal policy to regulate
government expenditure; government should be consistent with its expenditure/payments as this
will stimulate economic growth. Finally, the government should take full advantage of the
benefits of capital expenditure, for instance, establishment of industries, setting up of cottage
industries, road constructions; the operations could be labour intensive so as to increase
employment. If these recommendations are efficiently implemented, the impact of government
expenditure on economic growth will be enhanced.
Title Page i
Approval page ii
Certification iii
Dedication iv
Acknowledgement v
Abstract vi
Table of Contents vii
1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 4
1.3 Objectives of the Study 4
1.4 Research questions 5
1.5 Research Hypotheses 5
1.6 Significance of the Study 6
1.7 Scope and limitations 7
1.8 Organisation of the study 8
1.9 Definitions of terms 9
References 11
2.0 Introduction 12
2.1 Conceptual Framework 12
2.1.1 An Overview of Government Expenditure 14
2.1.2 Types of government expenditure 16
2.1.3 Government expenditure Policies in Nigeria 16
2.1.4 Purpose of government expenditure 18
2.1.5 Significant of government expenditure 18
2.1.6 Component of government expenditure 19
2.1.7 Determinants of Government Expenditure 21
2.1.8 Impact of government expenditure on other variables 24
2.1.9 Effect of government expenditure on long-term trends 25
2.1.10 Government consumption output 26
2.1.11 Classification of government expenditure 30
2.1.12 Need for government expenditure 32
2.1.13 Expenditure planning process 33
2.1.14 Anatomy of government expenditure plans 33
2.1.15 The role of government expenditure 35
2.1.16 Characteristics of a develop economy 35
2.1.17 Distinction between underdeveloped and developed economy 37
2.1.18 Factors affecting economic growth 39
2.1.19 Benefits of economic growth 48
2.1.20 Obstacles to economic development 50
2.1.21 Economic development and growth 50
2.1.22 Ingredients of economic development 52
2.1.23 The links between health and development 54
2.1.24 Effects of increase in government expenditure 55
2.1.25 Components of aggregate economy 57
2.2 Prior Empirical Review 60
2.3 Theoretical frameworks 67
2.3.1 Theory of government expenditure 67
2.3.2 Theory of increasing government expenditure 68
2.3.3 Peacock and Wiseman’s theory of expenditure 68
2.3.4 Ernest Engel’s Theory of government expenditure 69
2.3.5 Wagner law of increasing state activities 70
References 72
3.0 Introduction 74
3.1 Research Design 74
3.2 Restatement of hypothesis 75
3.3 Research population 75
3.4 Sample and sampling technique (s) 76
3.5 Research instrument (s) 76
3.6 Validity and reliability of instruments 77
3.6.1 Validity of the instrument 77
3.6.2 Reliability of the instrument 77
3.7 Method of data collection 77
3.8 Model specification 77
3.9 Data analysis techniques 79
References 80
4.0 Introduction 81
4.1 Presentation of data 81
4.2 Restatement of model specification 82
4.3 Analysis and interpretation 83
4.3.1 Hypothesis one 83
4.3.1a Interpretation of hypothesis one (economic growth and total recurrent expenditure) 85
4.3.1b Discussion of findings 86
4.3.2 Hypothesis two 87
4.3.2a Interpretation of hypothesis two (economic growth and total capital expenditure 89
4.3.2b Discussion of findings 90
4.3.3 Hypothesis three 91
4.3.3a Interpretation of hypothesis three (economic growth and total transfer expenditure) 93
4.3.3b discussion of findings 94
5.0 Introduction 95
5.1 Summary of Findings 95
5.2 Implication of findings 96
5.3 Recommendations 97
5.4 Conclusions 98
5.5 Contribution to knowledge 98
5.6 Suggestion for further studies 99
Appendix 103
Over the past decades, the public sector spending has been increasing in geometric term through
government various activities and interactions with its Ministries, Departments and Agencies
(MDA’s), (Niloy et al. 2003). Although, the general view is that government expenditure either
recurrent or capital expenditure, notably on social and economic infrastructure can be growth
enhancing although the financing of such expenditure to provide essential infrastructural
facilities including transport, electricity, telecommunications, water and sanitation, waste
disposal, education and health can be growth retarding (for example, the negative effect
associated with taxation and excessive debt). The size and structure of government expenditure
will determine the pattern and form of growth in output of the economy (Taiwo, and Abayomi,
The structure of Nigerian government expenditure can broadly be categorized into capital and
recurrent expenditure. The recurrent expenditure are government expenses on administration
such as wages, salaries, interest on loans, maintenance etc., whereas expenses on capital projects
like roads, airports, education, telecommunication, electricity generation etc., are referred to as
capital expenditure. One of the main purposes of government spending is to provide
infrastructural facilities (Taiwo and Abayomi, 2011).
Nurudeen and Usman (2010) added that, in Nigeria, government expenditure has continued to
rise due to the huge receipts from production and sales of crude oil, and the increased demand for
public (utilities) goods like roads, communication, power, education and health. Besides, there is
increasing need to provide both internal and external security for the people and the nation.
Available statistics, according to Nurudeen and Usman (2010) show that total government
expenditure (capital and recurrent) and its components have continued to rise in the last three
decades. For instance, government total recurrent expenditure increased from N3, 819.20 million
in 1977 to N4, 805.20 million in 1980 and further to N36, 219.60 million in 1990. Recurrent
expenditure was N461, 600.00 million and N1, 589,270.00 million in 2000 and 2007,
respectively. In the same manner, composition of government recurrent expenditure shows that
expenditure on defense, internal security, education, health, agriculture, construction, and
transport and communication increased during the period under review. Moreover, government
capital expenditure rose from N5, 004.60 million in 1977 to N10, 163.40 million in 1980 and
further to N24, 048.60 million in 1990. The value of capital expenditure stood at N239, 450.90
million and N759, 323.00 million in 2000 and 2007, respectively. Furthermore, the various
components of capital expenditure (that is, defense, agriculture, transport and communication,
education and health) also show a rising trend between 1977 and 2007.
Some scholars have argued that increase in government spending can be an effective tool to
stimulate aggregate demand for a stagnant economy and to bring about crowed in effects on
private sector. According to Keynesian view, government could reverse economic downturns by
borrowing money from the private sector and then returning the money to the private sector
through various spending programs. High levels of government consumption are likely to
increase employment, profitability and investment via multiplier effects on aggregate demand.
Thus, government expenditure, even of a recurrent nature, can contribute positively to economic
growth. On the other hand, endogenous growth models such as Barro (1990), predict that only
those productive government expenditures will positively affect the long run growth rate.
The effect of government spending on economic growth is still an unresolved issue theoretically
as well as empirically. Although the theoretical positions on the subject are quite diverse, the
conventional wisdom is that a large government spending is a source of economic instability or
stagnation. Empirical research, however, does not conclusively support the conventional
wisdom. A few studies report positive and significant relation between government spending and
economic growth while several others find significantly negative or no relation between an
increase in government spending and growth in real output.
Gregarious and Ghosh (2007) made use of the heterogeneous panel data to study the impact of
government expenditure on economic growth. Their results suggest that countries with large
government expenditure tend to experience higher economic growth.
Gemmell and Kneller (2001) provide empirical evidence on the impact of fiscal policy on long
run growth for European economy. Their study required that at least two of the
taxation/expenditure/deficit effects must be examined simultaneously and they employ panel and
time series econometric techniques, including dealing with the endogeneity of fiscal policy.
Their results indicate that while some public investment spending impacts positively on
economic growth, consumption and social security spending have zero or negative growth
Mitchell (2005) evaluated the impact of government spending on economic performance in
developed countries. He assessed the international evidence, reviewed the latest academic
research, cited examples of countries that have significantly reduced government spending as a
share of national output and analyzed the economic consequences of these reforms. Regardless
of the methodology or model employed, he concluded that a large and growing government is
not conducive to better economic performance. He further argued that reducing the size of
government would lead to higher incomes and improve American’s competitiveness.
According to Olorunfemi, (2008) studied the direction and strength of the relationship between
public investment and economic growth in Nigeria, using time series data from 1975 to 2004 and
observed that government expenditure impacted positively on economic growth and that there
was no link between gross fixed capital formation and Gross Domestic Product. He averred that
from disaggregated analysis, the result reveal that only 37.1% of government expenditure is
devoted to capital expenditure while 62.9% share is to current expenditure.
In the light of the above, this study intends to examine the impact of government expenditure on
economic growth of Nigeria.
The purpose of this study is to analyse the effect of government expenditure on the rise of
economic growth with a view of showing the rising trend between 1993 and 2012. In the light of
this, the following problems have been identified, recurrent expenditure, capital expenditure,
transfer expenditure, administration expenditure.
The broad objective of the study is to examine the impact of government expenditure and
economic growth of Nigeria.
The specific objectives are:
1. To determine if there is significant relationship between government recurrent
expenditure and economic growth of Nigeria.
2. To examine if there is significant relationship between government capital expenditure
and economic growth of Nigeria.
3. To evaluate if there is significant relationship between government transfer expenditure
and economic growth of Nigeria.
The following research questions are the main question this research paper intends to address:
1. Is there significant relationship between government recurrent expenditure and economic
growth of Nigeria?
2. Is there significant relationship between government capital expenditure and economic
growth of Nigeria?
3. Is there significant relationship between government transfer expenditure and economic
growth of Nigeria?
Hypothesis, according to (osuala, 2001; 56) is defined as a conjectural statement of the
relationship between two or more variables. In the course of finding solutions to the problems
identified in the study, three hypotheses were formulated. They are later tested based on the data
obtained from the field survey and other relevant sources on the subject of this research.
The following hypotheses will be tested in the course of this study.
Hypothesis I
Ho: There is no significant relationship between government recurrent expenditure and
economic growth of Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between government recurrent expenditure and
economic growth of Nigeria.
Hypothesis II
Ho: There is no significant relationship between government capital expenditure and
economic growth of Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between government capital expenditure and economic
growth of Nigeria.
Hypothesis III
Ho: There is no significant relationship between government transfer expenditure and
economic growth of Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between government transfer expenditure and
economic growth of Nigeria.
It is expected that this study would consolidate existing literature on the issues surrounding the
relationship between government expenditure and economic growth. The study would also
facilitate the examination of the effects of government expenditure and economic growth in
Nigeria and thus boosting the empirical evidence from Nigeria. Therefore this research work is
apparently going to be useful to the following,
i) Government; this research will be relevant to the top officials of the government as it will
enable them to come out with pragmatic policies for expenditure management aimed at
improving the quality of their economic growth.
ii) Companies; this research enable companies acquaint themselves with the effects of rise of
sales which will enhance their profit
iii) Citizens; most citizens are ignorant of the fact that they benefit more from economic growth
of Nigeria cause of the blunt thinking that government benefit alone from all, the findings of this
study will enlighten the citizens more on how government expenditure can actually have effect
on economic growth.
iv) The economy; it will also highlight to the economy as a whole because if the level of
economic growth is rise, government will be able to provide more resources to help in the
development of the economy.
v) Contribution to existing work; the findings of this study could be seen as a contribution to
existing works on impacts of government expenditure on economic growth in Nigeria. Indeed,
this would contribute immensely in building up academic knowledge in a wide range issues.
vi) Further research; the study would also play a significant role of engineering further
research into other aspects of topic under consideration or other related topics in the economic
growth, in other words, forming a future research in this area. it would also add to the available
literature on the areas of study while also providing a platform for other researchers who may
want to further this study.
vii) Education analysts; the result of the study would be of benefits to education analysts, and
institutions in examining the effectiveness of government expenditure and economic growth.
viii) Empirical researchers; It will also be useful in stimulating public discourse given the
dearth of empirical researchers in these areas from emerging economies like Nigeria.
This study is undertaken to examine the impact of government expenditure on economic growth.
In term of time series, a period of twenty years is used (i.e. 1993 to 2012) as means of assessing
the impact of government expenditure on the growth of Nigerian economy. It is hoped that this
will help to achieve the stated objective of the study.
In any research study of this nature, there is normally the enthusiasm to touch as many areas as
possible which are connected to the various needs of such study. However due to the nature and
scope of the work, such a wild scope is out of the question since a work of this nature can hardly
achieve a feat. This study will examine mainly the Impact of government expenditure on
economic growth of Nigeria covering the period 1993 to 2012.
i) Time factor; this project was carried out when academic were at its peak, particularly for the
final year students as this was one of the courses offered by the researcher. Therefore, there were
challenges faced by the researcher in time allotment
ii) Non availability of records; this is one of the most important limiting factors in the course of
the study. There were no records of past research works done to see the style, design and writing
methods by past graduating students since the researcher is among the first set of students that
will be graduating from the school.
iii) Fund; the problem of funding was not left out in the course of research to this study. This
type of study required adequate money and time to enable the researcher visit the necessary
places for collection of data. Insufficient funding was a limiting factor for the in depth study of
this research since it was financed from meager pocket money of the researcher.
This research studies the impact of government expenditure on economic growth in Nigeria. It is
organized into five chapters. The first chapter shall contain the background of the study, the
statement of the research problem, the objectives of the study, the research questions etc. that
would guide the study. Chapter two would present the literature review on the subject matter.
The methodology to be adopted in the study would be stated in chapter three. Chapter four shall
focus on the presentation and interpretation of the regression results. The last chapter five would
present the summary of the findings, conclusion and appropriate recommendations.
This aspect relates to definition of the concepts used for purpose of this study.
1) Aggregate demand: A schedule or curve which shows the total quantity of goods and
services, demanded at different prices.
2) Aggregate production function: this is a function showing the maximum output of a
country given a set of inputs, assuming that these inputs are used efficiently.
3) Capital expenditure: Refers to spending on fixed assets such as roads, schools,
hospitals, building, plant and machinery etc., the benefits of which are durable and lasting for
several years.
4) Capital stock: Means the total value of the fiscal capital of an economy; including
inventories as well as equipment’s.
5) Classical economics: The macroeconomic generalizations accepted by most economists
before the 1930s which led to the conclusion that a capitalistic economy would employ its
resources fully.
6) Current expenditure: Refers to spending on wages and salaries, supplies and services,
rent, pension, interest payment, social security payment. These are broadly considered as
consumable items, the benefits of which are consumed within each financial year.
7) Dependent variable: A variable in which changes as a con sequence of a change in some
other (independent) variables.
8) Economic growth: Means increase in an economic variable, normally persisting over
successive periods. The variable concerned may be real or nominal GDP. Increase in real output
or in real output per capita.
9) Economic model: A simplified picture of reality representing an economic situation.
10) Economic policy: Course of action intended to correct or avoid a problem.
11) Economic resources: Land, labour, capital and entrepreneur which are used in the
production of goods and services.
12) Expanding economy: An economy in which the net domestic investment is greater than
13) Fiscal policy: The use of taxation and government spending to influence the economy.
14) Government expenditure: Spending by government at any level. It consists of spending
on real goods, and services purchased from outside suppliers; spending on employment in state
services such as administration, defense and education; spending on transfer payment to
pensioners; spending on community services; spending on economic services..
15) Growth rate: The proportional or percentage rate of increase of any economic variable
over a unit period, normally a year. ..
16) Poverty: Inability to afford an adequate standard of consumption.
Niloy, B., Emanuel. M. H and Denise. R.O (2003): Government expenditure and Economic
Growth: A Disaggregated Analysis for Developing Countries, JEL, Publication.
Nurudeen, A. and Usman, A. (2010), Government Expenditure and Economic Growth in
Nigeria, 1970 2008: A Disaggregated Analysis, Business and Economics Journal, 1(10):1
Taiwo, M. and Abayomi, T. (2011), Government Expenditure and Economic Development:
Empirical Evidence from Nigeria, European Journal of Business and Management, 3(9):
18 – 28.


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