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On the Identification and Macroeconomic Effects of Discretionary Changes in Fiscal Policy

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  • Breuer, Christian

Abstract

Empirical studies on the effects of fiscal adjustments apply different approaches to identify discretionary changes in fiscal policy. While the results of one strand of literature suggest that the effects of fiscal adjustments on GDP are small or even positive, particularly for spending cuts (expansionary austerity), this strand of literature is under criticism because of an incomplete cyclical adjustment strategy. I compare the macroeconomic effects of fiscal adjustments using five different identification strategies for a panel of 30 OECD countries over the period 1980 to 2012 and show that the strategy chosen for identifying fiscal policy has a crucial impact on the estimated effects. My results suggest that large fiscal adjustments (both revenue and spending based) lead to economic contractions, after appropriate controlling for cyclical effects and one-off capital transfers. These findings indicate that a great deal of previous empirical research on fiscal adjustments and expansionary austerity is based on an incomplete measure of fiscal policy and needs to be reevaluated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 52056.

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Date of creation: 15 Aug 2013
Date of revision: 22 Nov 2013
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52056

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Keywords: Fiscal Policy · Cyclical Adjustment · Government Expenditures;

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  1. Daniel Leigh & Andrea Pescatori & Jaime Guajardo, 2011. "Expansionary Austerity New International Evidence," IMF Working Papers 11/158, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1990. "Suggestions for a New Set of Fiscal Indicators," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 79, OECD Publishing.
  4. Isabelle Joumard & Makoto Minegishi & Christophe André & Chantal Nicq & Robert W.R. Price, 2008. "Accounting for One-off Operations when Assessing Underlying Fiscal Positions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 642, OECD Publishing.
  5. Heylen, Freddy & Hoebeeck, Annelies & Buyse, Tim, 2013. "Government efficiency, institutions, and the effects of fiscal consolidation on public debt," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 40-59.
  6. 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.
  7. Ardagna, Silvia, 2004. "Fiscal Stabilizations: When Do They Work and Why," Scholarly Articles 2580047, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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