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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. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rüdiger Bachmann & Eric R. Sims, 2011. "Confidence and the Transmission of Government Spending Shocks," NBER Working Papers 17063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Perotti, Roberto, 2005. "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 4842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Eric M. Leeper, Todd B. Walker, And Shu-Chun S. Yang, 2009. "Government Investment And Fiscal Stimulus In The Short And Long Runs," Caepr Working Papers 2009-011, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  9. Ludger Linnemann & Andreas Schabert, 2006. "Productive Government Expenditure In Monetary Business Cycle Models," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 53(1), pages 28-46, 02.
  10. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  11. Roberto Perotti, 2004. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Papers 276, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  12. Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's All in the Timing," NBER Working Papers 15464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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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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