Can Government Demand Stimulate Private Investment? Evidence from U.S. Federal Procurement

34 Pages Posted: 4 May 2016

See all articles by Shafik Hebous

Shafik Hebous

International Monetary Fund

Tom Zimmermann

University of Cologne; QuantCo, Inc.

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2016


We study the effects of federal purchases on firms' investment using a novel panel dataset that combines federal procurement contracts in the United States with key financial firm-level information. We find that 1 dollar of federal spending increases firms' capital investment by 7 to 11 cents. The average effect masks heterogeneity: Effects are stronger for firms that face financing constraints and they are close to 0 for unconstrained firms. In line with the financial accelerator model, our findings indicate that the effect of government purchases works through easing firms' access to external borrowing. Furthermore, industry-level analysis suggests that that the increase in investment at the firm level translates into an industry-wide effect without crowding-out capital investment of other firms in the same industry.

Keywords: Federal Procurement, Financing Constraints, Spending Multipliers, government spending, contracts, capital investment, fiscal policy, General, Other, All Countries,

JEL Classification: E62, H30, E69

Suggested Citation

Hebous, Shafik and Zimmermann, Tom and Zimmermann, Tom, Can Government Demand Stimulate Private Investment? Evidence from U.S. Federal Procurement (March 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Shafik Hebous (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

Tom Zimmermann

QuantCo, Inc. ( email )

University of Cologne ( email )

Cologne, 50923

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