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Industry Evidence on the Effects of Government Spending

Author

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  • Christopher J. Nekarda
  • Valerie A. Ramey

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of government purchases at the industry level in order to shed light on the transmission mechanism for government spending on the aggregate economy. We create a new panel dataset that matches output and labor variables to industry-specific shifts in government demand. An increase in government demand raises output and hours, lowers real product wages and labor productivity, and has no effect on the markup. The estimates also imply approximately constant returns to scale. The findings are more consistent with the effects of government spending in the neoclassical model than the textbook New Keynesian model. (JEL E12, E23, E62, H50)

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Industry Evidence on the Effects of Government Spending," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 36-59, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:36-59
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.1.36
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ian Domowitz & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1986. "Business Cycles and the Relationship Between Concentration and Price-Cost Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
    2. Devereux, Michael B & Head, Allen C & Lapham, Beverly J, 1996. "Monopolistic Competition, Increasing Returns, and the Effects of Government Spending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 233-254, May.
    3. John Shea, 1993. "Do Supply Curves Slope Up?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 1-32.
    4. Susanto Basu, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-751.
    5. Kline, Patrick, 2008. "Understanding Sectoral Labor Market Dynamics: An Equilibrium Analysis of the Oil and Gas Field Services Industry," Working Papers 43, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    6. Evi Pappa, 2005. "New Keynesian or RBC Transmission? The Effects of Fiscal Policy in Labor Markets," Working Papers 293, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    7. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
    8. Barro, Robert J, 1981. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1086-1121, December.
    9. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-283, April.
    10. Yongsung Chang & Jay H. Hong, 2006. "Do Technological Improvements in the Manufacturing Sector Raise or Lower Employment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 352-368, March.
    11. Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2013. "The Cyclical Behavior of the Price-Cost Markup," NBER Working Papers 19099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Min Ouyang, 2011. "On the Cyclicality of R&D," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 542-553, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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