Journal of Economics and Development, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 184-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/JED-07-2020-0088
The effect of government expenditure and free maternal health care policy (FMHC) on household consumption in Ghana
In Covid-19 pandemic era when most households' members have lost their jobs and incomes, the government assistance and programs in ensuring household consumption smoothing is very significant. The main objectives of this study are to analyze the impact of government expenditure and free maternal healthcare (FMHC) policy on household consumption expenditure in Ghana in both long run and short run.
They used the ARDL to estimate the impact of government expenditure on household consumption and Segmented Linear Regression to examine impact of FMHC policy household consumption using longitudinal data from 1967 to 2018.
The results revealed that government expenditure had a negative and statistically significant effect on household consumption expenditure suggesting that government expenditure crowed-out private consumption in Ghana. Also, it was observed that before the implementation of the FMHC policy, there was an increase household consumption expenditure, but after the introduction of the FMHC policy, the study household consumption expenditure decreases significantly suggesting that FMHC policy has strong association with household consumption in Ghana.
Due to limited data availability, this study did not assess the impact of the FMHC policy at the household or district level. Also, Ghana has introduced a free senior high school education policy in 2017 so further research could analyze the implications of these policies for household consumption in Ghana at the micro-level using different estimation technique such as the difference in difference.
The study suggests the need to increase public spending on basic social amenities and also extend the free maternal healthcare policy to all pregnant women especially those in the rural areas of Ghana as these have a greater impact on household consumption in Ghana. The findings from this study have important implications for household savings and interest rate in Ghana. The findings from this study also have important implications for both fiscal policy and healthcare policy in Ghana and other developing countries.
To the best of my knowledge this is the first empirical study to examine the effect of government expenditure and free maternal healthcare policy on household consumption in Ghana.
Keywords:Government expenditure, Free maternal HealthCare, Household consumption, ARDL, Segmented linear regression, Ghana