I just re-read John Wallis’s 1994 paper “Government Growth, Income Growth, and Economic Growth” (which is Chapter 13 in this collection ). It’s a fine read. One take-away point occurs in John’s discussion of theories of economic growth:
Any growth theory where government investment plays a critical role in stimulating growth immediately runs afoul of the historical record, however. The first countries to industrialize did not require extensive government involvement to make these investments. In England, it was apparent that neither early capital accumulation nor social overhead investments depended heavily on the public sector [p. 282].