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Did Fiscal Policy Makers Know What They Were Doing? Reassessing Fiscal Policy with Real Time Data

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  • Bernoth, Kerstin
  • Hughes Hallett, Andrew
  • Lewis, John

Abstract

Empirical fiscal policy reaction functions based on ex-post data cannot be said to describe fiscal policymakers intentions because they utilise data which did not exist when their decisions were made. A characterisation of what fiscal policy makers were trying to do requires real time data. This paper compares fiscal policy reaction functions for 14 European countries over the period 1995-2006 using both types of data. We exploit the information contained in real time and ex-post data and develop a new approach to estimating the automatic and discretionary fiscal policy responses to changing economic conditions. This avoids the uncertainties and inaccuracies associated with filtering the data in an attempt to estimate potential output or the structural budget. We find that the often commented on pro-cyclicality of discretionary policy only arises in the ex-post data; the real time data suggests that policymakers have tried to run counter-cyclical discretionary policy, but find it hard to do so due to data constraints. Compared to elsewhere in the literature, our model yields lower estimates of the automatic fiscal responses and stronger estimates of the discretionary responses to the output gap.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6758.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6758

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Keywords: Discretion; Fiscal Policy; Real Time Data;

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Cited by:
  1. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2011. "Real-time data and fiscal policy analysis: a survey of the literature," Working Papers 11-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Beetsma, Roel & Bluhm, Benjamin & Giuliodori, Massimo & Wierts, Peter, 2011. "From First-Release to Ex-Post Fiscal Data: Exploring the Sources of Revision Errors in the EU," CEPR Discussion Papers 8413, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Guido Baldi & Karsten Staehr, 2013. "The European Debt Crisis and Fiscal Reaction Functions in Europe 2000-2012," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1295, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Gabrisch, Hurbert & Orlowski, Lucjan & Pusch, Toralf, 2012. "Sovereign Default Risk in the Euro-Periphery and the Euro-Candidate Countries," Working Papers 2012002, Sacred Heart University, John F. Welch College of Business.
  5. Álvaro M. Pina, 2009. "Elusive Counter-Cyclicality and Deliberate Opportunism? Fiscal Policy from Plans to Final Outcomes," Working Papers w200906, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  6. Balazs Egert, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Reaction to the Cycle in the OECD: Pro- or Counter-Cyclical?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3777, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Georgios Efthyvoulou, 2010. "Political Budget Cycles in the European Union and the Impact of Political Pressures: A dynamic panel regression analysis," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1002, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  8. Ioannou, Demosthenes & Stracca, Livio, 2011. "Have euro area and EU economic governance worked? Just the facts," Working Paper Series 1344, European Central Bank.
  9. Cepparulo, Alessandra & Gastaldi, Francesca & Giuriato, Luisa & Sacchi, Agnese, 2011. "Budgeting versus implementing fiscal policy:the Italian case," MPRA Paper 32474, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. repec:dgr:uvatin:2011080 is not listed on IDEAS

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