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Determinants of variation in public investment in emerging Europe

Sasa Randjelovic (Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 22 April 2020

Issue publication date: 1 June 2021




This paper evaluates the economic, political and institutional determinants of variation in public investment in emerging Europe.


Panel econometrics (panel-corrected standard error, generalized least squares and the two-stage least squares) methods have been applied using annual data from 2000 to 2017 for 16 countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).


Public investment was procyclical in relation to output and negatively associated with the level of public debt. Austerity episodes triggered a significant drop in public investment. Positive drifts in public investment during election periods and the negative impact of the number of cabinet seats held by left-wing parties have been captured. While no firm evidence on the impact of EU membership was found, the results show that arrangements with the IMF were strongly associated with lower public investment. Political factors were of greater importance in Central Europe and the Baltics, while institutional factors had a more significant impact in South Eastern Europe.

Practical implications

To foster public capital formation, it is necessary to: 1) strengthen the countercyclicality of public investment policy and to keep public debt at a low level; 2) adjust the fiscal criteria for EU membership in a manner that would enable countries to use the EU structural fund more effectively, while maintaining fiscal sustainability; 3) put a stronger emphasis on structural features of fiscal policy when designing country-level arrangements with the IMF.


The paper contributes to the literature on determinants of public investment policy by adding empirical evidence for emerging Europe countries.



This article is the result of research conducted under the LSEE Visiting Fellowship Programme at the LSE European Institute – Research on South Eastern Europe.


Randjelovic, S. (2021), "Determinants of variation in public investment in emerging Europe", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 537-555.



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