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Measuring Tax Multipliers: The Narrative Method in Fiscal VARs

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  • Carlo Favero
  • Francesco Giavazzi

Abstract

This paper argues in favor of empirical models built by including in fiscal VAR models structural shocks identified via the narrative method. We first show that "narrative" shocks are orthogonal to the relevant information set a fiscal VAR. We then derive impulse responses to these shocks. The use of narrative shocks does not require the inversion of the moving-average representation of a VAR for the identification of the relevant shocks. Therefore, within this framework, fiscal multipliers can be identified and estimated even when, in the presence of "fiscal foresight," the MA representation of the VARs is not invertible. (JEL C32, E62, H20, H62, H63)

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2012. "Measuring Tax Multipliers: The Narrative Method in Fiscal VARs," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 69-94, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:69-94
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.2.69
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ryan Chahrour & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2012. "A Model-Based Evaluation of the Debate on the Size of the Tax Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 28-45, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Hess Chung & Eric M. Leeper, 2007. "What Has Financed Government Debt?," NBER Working Papers 13425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Roberto Perotti, 2012. "The Effects of Tax Shocks on Output: Not So Large, but Not Small Either," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 214-237, May.
    5. Karel Mertens & Morten Overgaard Ravn, 2011. "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 27-54, January.
    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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368.
    7. Karel Mertens & Morten Overgaard Ravn, 2011. "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 27-54, January.
    8. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense? A Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 943-948, November.
    9. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior of U. S. Public Debt and Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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