Crowding Out Effect

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DEFINITION of 'Crowding Out Effect'

An economic concept where increased public sector spending replaces, or drives down, private sector spending. Crowding out refers to when government must finance its spending with taxes and/or with deficit spending, leaving businesses with less money and effectively "crowding them out." One explanation of why crowding out occurs is government financing of projects with deficit spending through the use of borrowed money. Because the government borrows such large amounts of capital, its activities can increase interest rates. Higher interest rates discourage individuals and businesses from borrowing money, which reduces their spending and investment activities.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Crowding Out Effect'

For example, the higher taxes required for government to fund social welfare programs leaves less discretionary income for individuals and businesses to make charitable donations. Further, when government funds certain activities there is little incentive for businesses and individuals to spend on those same things. Another example is increased government spending on Medicaid, which has been linked to decreased availability of private health insurance.

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