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Fiscal Policy Rules and Regime (In)Stability: Evidence from the U.S

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  • Carlo Favero
  • Tommaso Monacelli

Abstract

We employ Markov-switching regression methods to estimate fiscal policy feedback rules in the U.S. for the period 1960-2002. Our approach allows to capture policy regime changes endogenously. We reach three main conclusions. First, fiscal policy may be characterized, according to Leeper (1991) terminology, as active from the 1960s throughout the 1980s, switching gradually to passive in the early 1990s and switching back to active in early 2001. Second, regime-switching fiscal rules are capable of tracking the time-series behaviour of the U.S. primary deficit better than rules based on a constant parameter specification. Third, regime-switches in monetary and fiscal policy rules do not exhibit any degree of synchronization. Our results are at odds with the view that the post-war U.S. fiscal policy regime may be classified as passive at all times, and seem to pose a challenge for the specification of the correct monetary-fiscal mix within recent optimizing macroeconomic models considered suitable for policy analysis.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 282.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:282

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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  2. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1995. "Measuring Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 5145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Consumption and Employment: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2760, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2002. "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 331-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2002. "Should the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve be concerned about fiscal policy?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 333-389.
  6. Hess Chung & Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2007. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy Switching," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 809-842, 06.
  7. Jess Benhabib & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1998. "Monetary policy and multiple equilibria," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Matthew Canzoneri & Behzad Diba, 1999. "The Stability and Growth Pact: A Delicate Balance or an Albatross?," Empirica, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 241-258, September.
  9. Davig, Troy, 2004. "Regime-switching debt and taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 837-859, May.
  10. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
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