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Fiscal Policy Cyclicality and Growth within the US States

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  • Svec Justin

    ()
    (College of the Holy Cross)

  • Kondo Ayako

    ()
    (Hosei University)

Abstract

This paper exploits differences in the stringency of balanced budget rules across US states to estimate the effect of the cyclicality of fiscal policy on state GDP growth. While most states have passed laws restricting deficits, the nature and strictness of these laws vary greatly. States with more stringent balanced budget restrictions run more procyclical fiscal policy. We use the diversity in these laws as an instrument for the cyclicality of policy. We find evidence that a more counter-cyclical primary deficit increases a state's average growth rate per capita. This effect is robust to a number of alternative specifications. One concrete policy implication of this analysis is that a state could increase its annual growth rate by relaxing its balanced budget restrictions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 1-35

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:12:y:2012:i:2:n:2

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  1. James M. Poterba, 1993. "State Responses to Fiscal Crisis: The Effects of Budgetary Institutionsand Politics," NBER Working Papers 4375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Philip R. Lane, 2002. "The Cyclical Behaviour of Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the OECD," Trinity Economics Papers 20022, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  3. Bent E. Sorensen & Lisa Wu & Oved Yosha, 1999. "Output fluctuations and fiscal policy : U.S. state and local governments 1978-1994," Research Working Paper 99-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  4. Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Balanced Budgets and Business Cycles: Evidence from the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 4), pages 715-32, December.
  5. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2004. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Rules in the US States," CEPR Discussion Papers 4372, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Henning Bohn & Robert P. Inman, . "Balanced Budget Rules and Public Deficits: Evidence from the U.S. States (Reprint 060)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 10-96, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bohn, Henning & Inman, Robert P., 1996. "Balanced-budget rules and public deficits: evidence from the U.S. states," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 13-76, December.
  10. Howitt, Peter & Aghion, Philippe, 2006. "Appropriate Growth Policy: A Unifying Framework," Scholarly Articles 4554121, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "Government size and automatic stabilizers: international and intranational evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 3-28, October.
  12. Yamarik, Steven, 2000. "Can tax policy help explain state-level macroeconomic growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 211-215, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Jiri Jonas, 2012. "Great Recession and Fiscal Squeeze at U.S. Subnational Government Level," IMF Working Papers 12/184, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Escobari Diego & Mollick André Varella, 2013. "Output growth and unexpected government expenditures," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 33, September.

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