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Expectations and Fiscal Policy: An Empirical Investigation

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  • Roberto perotti
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    Abstract

    With fiscal foresight, the shocks identified by standard Vector Autoregression (SVAR) techniques can be non-fundamental for the variables of interest. In an important paper, Ramey (2011) uses direct measures of the private sector’s forecast revisions of defense or federal spending to estimate the effects of government spending shocks in a VAR, obtaining the "expectations - augmented" VAR, or EVAR. The response of GDP to these shocks is smaller than 1, and consumption and the real wage fall: this is consistent with the neoclassical model, but the opposite of recent results from SVARs. In this paper, I make three points. First, EVARs and SVARs give virtually the same results. Ramey reaches the opposite conclusion because she never estimates the two specifications on the same sample and with the same government spending variable. Second, the evidence from EVARs is not robust. It is enough to dummy out just two quarters during WWII (when rationing was introduced) or during the Korean War (when new Fed regulation di couraging the purchase of durables was introduced) for the negative effects of defense spending shocks to disappear. Third, the forecast revision of federal spending from the Survey of Professional Forecasters has high explanatory power for government spending, but for the "wrong" reason: the predictive power of expected government spending growth is extremely low, so that the forecast error is effectively actual spending growth less noise.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 429.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:429

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    1. Ryan Chahrour & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2010. "A Model-Based Evaluation of the Debate on the Size of the Tax Multiplier," NBER Working Papers 16169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O., 2009. "Measuring the Impact of Fiscal Policy in the Face of Anticipation: A Structural VAR Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 7423, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Mario Forni & Luca Gambetti & Luca Sala, 2011. "No News in Business Cycles," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 862.11, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    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. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytics and Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 14028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1994. "VAR analysis, non-fundamental representations, Blashke matrices," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10151, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    Cited by:
    1. Luca Gambetti, 2012. "Fiscal Foresight, Forecast Revisions and the Effects of Government Spending in the Open Economy," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 907.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    2. Charl Jooste, Guangling (Dave) Liu and Ruthira Naraidoo, 2013. "Analysing the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks in the South African Economy," Working Papers 351, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    3. Virkola, Tuomo, 2014. "Exchange Rate Regime, Fiscal Foresight and the Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy in a Small Open Economy," ETLA Reports 20, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    4. 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.
    5. Cléaud, G. & Lemoine, M. & Pionnier, P.-A., 2013. "Which size and evolution of the government expenditure multiplier in France (1980-2010)?," Working papers 469, Banque de France.
    6. Born, Benjamin & Juessen, Falko & Müller, Gernot J., 2013. "Exchange rate regimes and fiscal multipliers," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 446-465.
    7. Sohrab Rafiq, 2013. "The Growth and Stabilization Properties of Fiscal Policy in Malaysia," IMF Working Papers 13/149, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Ricco, Giovanni & Callegari, Giovanni & Cimadomo, Jacopo, 2014. "Signals from the Government: Policy Uncertainty and the Transmission of Fiscal Shocks," MPRA Paper 56136, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Ricco, Giovanni & Ellahie, Atif, 2012. "Government Spending Reloaded: Fundamentalness and Heterogeneity in Fiscal SVARs," MPRA Paper 42105, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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