Applied in the short term, this is appropriate as a response to transient shocks and acute labour market crises. Investing in public works projects in order to stimulate the general economy has been a popular policy measure since the economic crisis of the s.
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More recent examples are the — Chinese economic stimulus program , the European Union stimulus plan , and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of While it is argued that capital investment in public works can be used to reduce unemployment, opponents of internal improvement programs argue that such projects should be undertaken by the private sector , and not the public sector , because public works projects are often inefficient and costly to the taxpayers.
Further, some argue that public works, when used excessively by a government, are characteristic of socialism and other totalitarian or collectivist forms of government due to 'tax and spend' policies and excessive bureaucracy.
However, in the private sector, entrepreneurs bear their own losses and so private sector firms are generally unwilling to undertake projects that could result in losses or would not develop a revenue stream. Governments will invest in public works because of the overall benefit to society when there is a lack of private sector benefit a project that will not generate revenue or the risk is too great for a private company to accept on its own. Some unexpected findings of the research were that:. Generally contracts awarded by public tenders will include a provision for unexpected expenses i.
This money is only spent during the course of the project if the construction managers judge that it is necessary, and typically the expenditure must be justified in writing. The dictionary definition of public works at Wiktionary.
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