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Public Investment, Time to Build, and the Zero Lower Bound

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  • Hafedh Bouakez
  • Michel Guillard
  • Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup

Abstract

Public investment represents a non-negligible fraction of total public expenditures. Yet, theoretical studies of the effects of public spending when the economy is stuck in a liquidity trap invariably assume that government expenditures are entirely wasteful. In this paper, we consider a new-Keynesian economy in which a fraction of government spending increases the stock of public capital-which is an external input in the production technology-subject to a time-to-build constraint. In this environment, an increase in public spending has two conflicting effects on current and expected inflation: a positive effect due to higher aggregate demand and a negative effect reflecting future declines in real marginal cost. We solve the model analytically both in normal times and when the zero lower bound (ZLB) on nominal interest rates binds. We show that under relatively short time-to-build delays, the spending multiplier at the ZLB decreases with the fraction of public investment in a stimulus plan. Conversely, when several quarters are required to build new public capital, this relationship is reversed. In the limiting case where a fiscal stimulus is entirely allocated to investment in public infrastructure, the spending multiplier at the ZLB is 4 to 5 times larger than in normal times when the time to build is 12 quarters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1402.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1402

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Keywords: Public spending; Public investment; Time to build; Multiplier; Zero lower bound;

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References

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  1. Hafedh Bouakez & Foued Chihi & Michel Normandin, 2010. "Measuring the Effects of Fiscal Policy," Cahiers de recherche 1016, CIRPEE.
  2. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2009. "Government Investment and Fiscal Stimulus in the Short and Long Runs," NBER Working Papers 15153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  4. Florin O. Bilbiie, 2011. "Nonseparable Preferences, Frisch Labor Supply, and the Consumption Multiplier of Government Spending: One Solution to a Fiscal Policy Puzzle," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(1), pages 221-251, 02.
  5. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Roberto Perotti, 2004. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Papers 276, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. Leeper, Eric M. & Walker, Todd B. & Yang, Shu-Chun S., 2010. "Government investment and fiscal stimulus," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 1000-1012, November.
  8. Andrew Mountford & Harald Uhlig, 2008. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," NBER Working Papers 14551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eric Sims & Ruediger Bachmann, 2011. "Confidence and the Transmission of Government Spending Shocks," 2011 Meeting Papers 83, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ludger Linnemann & Andreas Schabert, 2005. "Productive Government Expenditure in Monetary Business Cycle Models," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-053/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. 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.
  14. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2011. "When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 78 - 121.
  15. Perotti, Roberto, 2005. "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 4842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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  1. Public Investment, Time to Build, and the Zero Lower Bound
    by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2014-02-10 16:42:03

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