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Changes in the Fiscal Stance and the Composition of Public Spending

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  • Juraj Stancik
  • Timo Valila

Abstract

The share of public investment relative to consumption expenditure has declined in past decades. Earlier literature has attributed this stylised fact variably to the relative political ease of cutting investment; different cyclical patterns of public investment and consumption; or to EMU’s fiscal rules. We consider the impact of both cyclical and structural changes in the fiscal stance on public spending composition for a panel of EU countries, including individual components of public investment. We find that both cyclically-induced and structural changes in the fiscal stance affect the composition of public spending, with fiscal tightening of both types increasing, not decreasing, the relative share of investment and loosening favouring consumption expenditure. There is, however, some asymmetry in that the gain in investment following a tightening tends to be smaller than the gain in consumption expenditure following a loosening. Of the components of public investment, infrastructure and redistribution respond to cyclical changes in the fiscal stance, while investment in hospitals and schools responds most clearly to structural changes.

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Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp394.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp394

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Keywords: Fiscal policy; public expenditure; fiscal stance.;

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  1. Kappeler, Andreas & Välilä, Timo, 2008. "Fiscal federalism and the composition of public investment in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 562-570, September.
  2. Galí, Jordi & Perotti, Roberto, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 3933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  4. Fabrizio Balassone & Daniele Franco, 2000. "Public investment, the Stability Pact and the ‘golden rule’," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(2), pages 207-229, June.
  5. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
  6. Ivan Tchakarov & Roland Straub, 2007. "Assessing the Impact of a Change in the Composition of Public Spending: A DSGE Approach," IMF Working Papers 07/168, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Lane, Philip R., 2003. "The cyclical behaviour of fiscal policy: evidence from the OECD," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2661-2675, December.
  8. Jakob Haan & Jan Sturm & Bernd Sikken, 1996. "Government capital formation: Explaining the decline," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 55-74, March.
  9. Gonzalez Alegre, Juan & Kappeler, Andreas & Kolev, Atanas & Valila, Timo, 2008. "Composition of government investment in Europe: Some forensic evidence," EIB Papers 2/2008, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
  10. Blanchard, Olivier J & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2004. "Improving the SGP Through a Proper Accounting of Public Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Nathalie Girouard & Christophe André, 2005. "Measuring Cyclically-adjusted Budget Balances for OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 434, OECD Publishing.
  12. Aaron Mehrotra & Timo Välilä, 2006. "Public Investment in Europe: Evolution and Determinants in perspective," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(4), pages 443-471, December.
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