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Are government spending multipliers greater during periods of slack? evidence from 20th century historical data

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  • Michael T. Owyang
  • Valerie A. Ramey
  • Sarah Zubairy

Abstract

A key question that has arisen during recent debates is whether government spending multipliers are larger during times when resources are idle. This paper seeks to shed light on this question by analyzing new quarterly historical data covering multiple large wars and depressions in the U.S. and Canada. Using an extension of Ramey’s (2011) military news series and Jordà’s (2005) method for estimating impulse responses, we find no evidence that multipliers are greater during periods of high unemployment in the U.S. In every case, the estimated multipliers are below unity. We do find some evidence of higher multipliers during periods of slack in Canada, with some multipliers above unity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2013-004.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2013-004

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Keywords: Fiscal policy ; Business cycles ; Multiplier (Economics);

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References

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  1. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 63-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
  4. Òscar Jordà, 2005. "Estimation and Inference of Impulse Responses by Local Projections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 161-182, March.
  5. Robert J. Gordon & Robert Krenn, 2010. "The End of the Great Depression 1939-41: Policy Contributions and Fiscal Multipliers," NBER Working Papers 16380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Fiscal Policy during high unemployment periods: still a bad idea?
    by sebastianfleitas in NEP-HIS blog on 2013-03-04 13:37:19
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Cited by:
  1. Gerald Carlino & Robert P. Inman, 2013. "Macro Fiscal Policy in Economic Unions: States as Agents," NBER Working Papers 19559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2013. "The output effect of fiscal consolidations," Working Papers 478, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Steven Fazzari & James Morley & Irina Panovska, 2013. "State-Dependent Effects of Fiscal Policy," Discussion Papers 2012-27B, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  5. Alberto Locarno & Alessandro Notarpietro & Massimiliano Pisani, 2013. "Sovereign risk, monetary policy and fiscal multipliers: a structural model-based assessment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 943, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. Sylvérie Herbert, 2014. "Econometric analysis of regime switches and of fiscal multipliers," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2014-01, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  7. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/2g7mhju69b94obeaqlen09s1au is not listed on IDEAS
  8. 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.
  9. Christophe Blot & Marion Cochard & Jérôme Creel & Bruno Ducoudre & Danielle Schweisguth & Xavier Timbeau, 2014. "Fiscal consolidation in times of crisis: is the sooner really the better?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2g7mhju69b9, Sciences Po.

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