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Causation, Spending, and Taxes: Sand in the Sandbox or Tax Collector for the Welfare State?


  • Hoover, Kevin D
  • Sheffrin, Steven M


Causal relations between federal expenditure and taxation are analyzed using an approach based on the invariance of econometric relationships in the face of structural interventions. Institutional evidence for interventions or changes of regime combined with econometric tests for structural breaks are used to investigate the relative stability of conditional and marginal probability distributions for each variable. The patterns of stability are the products of underlying causal order. The authors find two distinct causal structures operating in the postwar era. Before the mid-1960s, taxes appear to cause spending. After the late 1960s, taxes and spending are causally independent. Copyright 1992 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoover, Kevin D & Sheffrin, Steven M, 1992. "Causation, Spending, and Taxes: Sand in the Sandbox or Tax Collector for the Welfare State?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 225-248, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:82:y:1992:i:1:p:225-48

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 679-734 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Oi, Walter Y., 1976. "On measuring the impact of wage-price controls: A critical appraisal," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-64, January.
    4. G. Warren Nutter & Israel Borenstein & Adam Kaufman, 1962. "Growth of Industrial Production in the Soviet Union," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number nutt62-1, January.
    5. John B. Taylor, 1986. "Improvements in Macroeconomic Stability: The Role of Wages and Prices," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 639-678 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:pri:indrel:dsp013f462541m is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
    8. Charles L. Schultze, 1981. "Some Macro Foundations for Micro Theory," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 521-592.
    9. Romer, Christina, 1986. "Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 1-37, February.
    10. Santomero, Anthony M & Seater, John J, 1978. "The Inflation-Unemployment Trade-off: A Critique of the Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 499-544, June.
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