Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Activist Fiscal Policy to Stabilize Economic Activity

Contents:

Author Info

  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • William G. Gale

Abstract

We review the evidence on the practice and effects of discretionary fiscal policy, particularly in the context of recent efforts to stimulate the economy, reaching two main conclusions. First, policy interventions have increased in this decade, pre-dating the 2009 stimulus. Second, despite a large economic literature on the topic, the state of theory and evidence is not as "shovel ready" as one would like. Although consumption and investment clearly respond to tax incentives and structural vector autoregressions show that lower taxes and higher government purchases can boost output, it is difficult to apply the findings in the current context, in part because multipliers and policy lags are likely to vary with economic conditions. Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models can be adapted to address extreme economic conditions, but yield an extremely wide range of predicted impacts. The experience from large downturns – the U.S. Great Depression and the Japanese Lost Decade – is illuminating, but provides little evidence about policy effectiveness because systematic and sustained fiscal interventions were not attempted in either case.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15407.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15407.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15407

Note: EFG PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The Reaction of Consumer Spending and Debt to Tax Rebates -- Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," NBER Working Papers 13694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Congdon, William J. & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2009. "Behavioral Economics and Tax Policy," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 62(3), pages 375-86, September.
  3. Julia Lynn Coronado & Joseph P. Lupton & Louise M. Sheiner, 2005. "The household spending response to the 2003 tax cut: evidence from survey data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-32, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-83, March.
  5. Tamim Bayoumi, 1999. "The Morning After--Explaining the Slowdown in Japanese Growth in the 1990s'," IMF Working Papers 99/13, International Monetary Fund.
  6. John B. Taylor, 2009. "The Lack Of An Empirical Rationale For A Revival Of Discretionary Fiscal Policy," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 9-13, 07.
  7. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "New Deal policies and the persistence of the Great Depression: a general equilibrium analysis," Working Papers 597, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2006. "The Causes of Japan's 'Lost Decade': The Role of Household Consumption," ISER Discussion Paper 0661, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  9. 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.
  10. Cogan, John F. & Cwik, Tobias & Taylor, John B. & Wieland, Volker, 2009. "New Keynesian versus old Keynesian government spending multipliers," CEPR Discussion Papers 7236, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 381-396, March.
  12. Chambers, Valrie & Spencer, Marilyn, 2008. "Does changing the timing of a yearly individual tax refund change the amount spent vs. saved?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 856-862, December.
  13. Alan J. Auerbach, 2003. "Fiscal Policy, Past and Present," NBER Working Papers 10023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Christopher House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2006. "Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation," NBER Working Papers 12514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Christina D. Romer, 1993. "The Nation in Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 19-39, Spring.
  16. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise if the Government Buys More Output?," NBER Working Papers 15496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gernot Müller & Giancarlo Corsetti & André Meier, 2009. "Fiscal Stimulus with Spending Reversals," IMF Working Papers 09/106, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Ardagna, Silvia, 2004. "Fiscal Stabilizations: When Do They Work and Why," Scholarly Articles 2580047, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2009. "How Large Are the Effects of Tax Changes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7439, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
  21. Romer, Christina D., 1992. "What Ended the Great Depression?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 757-784, December.
  22. Adam S. Posen, 2004. "What Went Right in Japan," Policy Briefs PB04-06, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  23. Mitsuru Iwamura & Takeshi Kudo & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2005. "Monetary and fiscal policy in a liquidity trap: the Japanese experience 1999-2004," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  24. Troy Davig, Eric Leeper, 2009. "Expectations And Fiscal Stimulus," Caepr Working Papers 2009-006, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  25. Martin S. Feldstein, 2009. "Rethinking the Role of Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 14684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 763-801, June.
  28. Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Fiscal Policy In Good Times And Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1399-1436, November.
  29. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  30. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2006. "Was the New Deal contractionary?," Staff Reports 264, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  31. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2008. "Great Expectations and the End of the Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1476-1516, September.
  32. 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.
  33. Marianne Bertrand & Adair Morse, 2009. "What Do High-Interest Borrowers Do with Their Tax Rebate?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 418-23, May.
  34. Kuttner, Kenneth N. & Posen, Adam S., 2002. "Fiscal Policy Effectiveness in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 536-558, December.
  35. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2006. "Fiscal multipliers and policy coordination," Staff Reports 241, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  36. Giancarlo Corsetti & André Meier & Gernot J. Müller, 2012. "Fiscal Stimulus with Spending Reversals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 878-895, November.
  37. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
  38. Alan S. Blinder & Angus Deaton, 1985. "The Time Series Consumption Function Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 465-521.
  39. Saez, Emmanuel, 2007. "Details Matter: The Impact of Presentation and Information on the Take-up of Financial Incentives for Retirement Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 6386, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  40. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 2002. "Tax policy and business investment," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 20, pages 1293-1343 Elsevier.
  42. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
  43. Shu-Chun S. Yang & Todd B. Walker & Eric M. Leeper, 2010. "Government Investment and Fiscal Stimulus," IMF Working Papers 10/229, International Monetary Fund.
  44. David W. Wilcox, 1987. "Social security benefits, consumption expenditure, and the life cycle hypothesis," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 78, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  45. Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen, 2001. "The Great Recession: Lessons for Macroeconomic Policy from Japan," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 93-186.
  46. Eichenbaum, Martin, 1997. "Some Thoughts on Practical Stabilization Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 236-39, May.
  47. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2009. "Did the 2008 Tax Rebates Stimulate Spending?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 374-79, May.
  48. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  49. Mitsuru Iwamara & Takeshi Kudo & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2005. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Liquidity Trap: The Japanese Experience 1999-2004," NBER Working Papers 11151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  50. John B. Taylor, 2000. "Reassessing Discretionary Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 21-36, Summer.
  51. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2003. "Do Consumers React to Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 397-405, March.
  52. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Benjamin Pugsley, 2006. "The Mistake of 1937: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 24(S1), pages 151-190, December.
  53. Watanabe, Katsunori & Watanabe, Takayuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2001. "Tax policy and consumer spending: evidence from Japanese fiscal experiments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 261-281, April.
  54. Ardagna, Silvia, 2004. "Fiscal stabilizations: When do they work and why," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1047-1074, October.
  55. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Thomas A. Garrett & Russell M. Rhine, 2011. "Economic freedom and employment growth in U.S. states," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 1-18.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2011. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Working Papers 17447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. repec:dgr:umamet:2010019 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Landais, Bernard, 2011. "Conduite et efficacité de la politique économique : les leçons de la crise
    [Management and Efficiency of the Economic Policies : The Crisis' Lessons"]
    ," MPRA Paper 31223, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Hans Fehr & Wolfgang Scherf & Michael Eilfort & Guido Raddatz, 2009. "Haushaltskonsolidierung: Sollte mit dem Ausstieg aus der Verschuldung erst nach Überwindung der Krise begonnen werden?," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 62(21), pages 03-12, November.
  6. David Andolfatto, 2010. "Fiscal multipliers in war and in peace," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 121-128.
  7. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," 2011 Meeting Papers 254, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "On Measuring the Effects of Fiscal Policy in Recessions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 703-18, September.
  9. James R. Hines Jr., 2010. "State Fiscal Policies and Transitory Income Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(2 (Fall)), pages 313-350.
  10. Bartha, Zoltán & Sáfrányné Gubik, Andrea, 2012. "The significance of fiscal space in Europe’s response to the crisis," MPRA Paper 40346, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Simone Salotti & Carmine Trecroci, 2012. "Even Worse than You thought: The Impact of Public Debt on Aggregate Investment and Productivity," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_020, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  12. Raffaella Basile & Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano, 2011. "Can we Rely upon Fiscal Policy Estimates in Countries with Unreported Production of 15 Per Cent (or more) of GDP?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3521, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Robert S. Chirinko & Daniel J. Wilson, 2010. "Job creation tax credits and job growth: whether, when, and where?," Working Paper Series 2010-25, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15407. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.