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Fiscal Policy, Business Cycles and Economic Stabilisation: Evidence from Industrialised and Developing Countries

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  • Young Lee
  • Taeyoon Sung

Abstract

This paper empirically investigates the responsiveness of fiscal policy to business cycles and the effectiveness of fiscal policy in reducing economic fluctuations. From regressions on the responsiveness of fiscal policy to business cycles, we find that the government's current expenditures and subsidies & transfers move counter-cyclically, whereas taxes and capital expenditures move pro-cyclically. Using economic fluctuations in neighbouring countries as an instrumental variable, we show that ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates understate the responsiveness of fiscal policy to economic fluctuations. We also find that fiscal policy responds asymmetrically over economic fluctuations. In investigating the effectiveness of fiscal policy in reducing economic fluctuations, we mitigate omitted variable bias by adding four important factors - military expenditures, oil production, economic fluctuations in neighbouring countries and fiscal policy responsiveness to business cycles. The results of effectiveness regressions are consistent with the responsiveness regressions, highlighting the importance of current expenditures, especially subsidies and transfers, in responding to business cycles and stabilising the economy. Copyright 2007 Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 28 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 437-462

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:28:y:2007:i:4:p:437-462

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Cited by:
  1. Leon du Toit, 2009. "Economic Crises, Stabilisation Policy and Output in Emerging Market Economies," Working Papers 20/2009, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  2. Gregory Thwaites, 2006. "Optimal emerging market fiscal policy when trend output growth is unobserved," Bank of England working papers 308, Bank of England.
  3. Chakraborty, Pinaki & Dash, Bharatee Bhusana, 2013. "Fiscal Reforms, Fiscal Rule and Development Spending: How Indian States have Performed?," Working Papers 13/122, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
  4. Martin Fochmann & Martin Jacob, 2011. "Behavioral Explanation of Tax Asymmetries," FEMM Working Papers 110021, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  5. Jan Veld & Martin Larch & Marieke Vandeweyer, 2013. "Automatic Fiscal Stabilisers: What They Are and What They Do," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 147-163, February.
  6. Makkonen, Teemu, 2013. "Government science and technology budgets in times of crisis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 817-822.
  7. Young Lee & Changyong Rhee & Taeyoon Sung, 2006. "Fiscal policy in Korea: Before and after the financial crisis," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 509-531, August.
  8. Carlo Cottarelli & Annalisa Fedelino, 2010. "Automatic Stabilizers and the Size of Government," IMF Working Papers 10/155, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Jesús Ferreiro & Carmen Gómez & Felipe Serrano, 2013. "Mistakes in the Fiscal Policy in Spain before the Crisis," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(5), pages 577-592, September.

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