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Fiscal Policy in an Unemployment Crisis

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  • Rendahl, P.

Abstract

This paper argues that the effectiveness of fiscal policy may increase markedly during periods of low nominal interest rates and high, persistent, unemployment. An increase in government spending boosts economic activity and reduces the unemployment rate both in the present and in the future. As a less disconcerting future spurs a rise in private consumption, unemployment falls even further and triggers an additional rise in private demand, and so on. In a stylized model, I show that the marginal impact of government spending on output is equal to the reciprocal of the elasticity of intertemporal substitution. In a more realistic framework, the effect is somewhat attenuated and displays significant nonlinearities with respect to the depth of the crisis as well as the size of the stimulus package. But in a severe recession with an unemployment rate of eight percent or above, the fiscal multiplier is equal to 1.5.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 1211.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1211

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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

Related research

Keywords: Fiscal multiplier; Fiscal policy; Liquidity trap; Unemployment inertia;

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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  2. Alessandro Barattieri & Susanto Basu & Peter Gottschalk, 2014. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Wages," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 70-101, January.
  3. JonasD.M. Fisher & Ryan Peters, 2010. "Using Stock Returns to Identify Government Spending Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 414-436, 05.
  4. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
  5. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2011. "Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from U.S. Regions," NBER Working Papers 17391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Zhen Huo & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2013. "Paradox of Thrift Recessions," NBER Working Papers 19443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Julien Albertini & Arthur Poirier, 2014. "Unemployment benefits extensions at the zero lower bound on nominal interest rate," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2014-019, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  3. Sebastian Gechert, 2013. "What fiscal policy is most effective? A Meta Regression Analysis," IMK Working Paper 117-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  4. Zhen Huo & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2012. "Engineering a paradox of thrift recession," Staff Report 478, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Spencer, Thomas & Lucas, Chancel & Emmanuel, Guerin, 2012. "Exiting the crisis in the right direction: A sustainable and shared prosperity plan for Europe," MPRA Paper 38802, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Òscar Jordà & Alan M. Taylor, 2013. "The Time for Austerity: Estimating the Average Treatment Effect of Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 19414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup, 2013. "The Productive Government Spending Multiplier, In and Out of The Zero Lower Bound," Working Papers 2013-02, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.

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