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Post Crisis Policy: Some Reflections of a Keynesian Economist

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  • Karl Aiginger

    (WIFO)

Abstract

This paper compares the depth and length of the recent crisis with the Great Depression in the 1930s. It claims that economic policy played a crucial role in shortening and curtailing the recent crisis. We analyse which policies were applied during the recent crisis and which measures worked. We know that policies relying on large infrastructure projects inherently involve an implementation lag. These lags have been very high in the recent crisis and some expenditure planned will maybe never be spent. We therefore suggest implementing a leakage rate for government expenditure programs which represents the part of intended public expenditures not spent in the first twelve months after the program is set into action. It might be higher than the savings rate out of a tax cut. Furthermore, exit strategies should ideally cut expenditure to the same extent as the increase in government spending during the crisis had been, so that sooner or later tax rates and debt rates may return to pre crisis levels. The core of the Keynesian policy recommendation is to raise expenditure in the crisis but to achieve a balanced budget over a full cycle. If expenditure is not cut after the crisis tax and/or debt rates will increase after each downturn and the basis for any Keynesian policy in the next crisis will be eroded. This does not preclude that it might be useful in the exit phase to change the tax structure in order to lower taxes on labour, specifically for low wages, while increasing taxes on financial transactions, carbon dioxide emissions, capital gains or property. This would lower unemployment and boost demand in economies with tendencies to underconsume.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by WIFO in its series WIFO Working Papers with number 371.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 11 May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wfo:wpaper:y:2010:i:371

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Keywords: financial crisis; business cycle; stabilisation policy; resilience;

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References

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  1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 466-72, May.
  2. E. Philip Davis & Dilruba Karim, 2008. "Could Early Warning Systems Have Helped To Predict the Sub-Prime Crisis?," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 206(1), pages 35-47, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Elena Shakina & Angel Barajas, 2014. "The Changing Role Of Intellectual Resources During The Economic Crisis Of 2008-2009," HSE Working papers WP BRP 17/MAN/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  2. Karl Aiginger & Thomas Horvath & Helmut Mahringer, . "Why Labour Market Response Differed in the Great Recession: The Impact of Institutions and Policy," WIFO Working Papers 396, WIFO.
  3. Karl Aiginger, 2011. "Why Growth Performance Differed across Countries in the Recent Crisis: the Impact of Pre-crisis Conditions," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 1, pages 35-52, August.

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