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Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?

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  • Valerie A. Ramey

Abstract

This essay briefly reviews the state of knowledge about the government spending multiplier. Drawing on theoretical work, aggregate empirical estimates from the United States, as well as cross-locality estimates, I assess the likely range of multiplier values for the experiment most relevant to the stimulus package debate: a temporary, deficit-financed increase in government purchases. I conclude that the multiplier for this type of spending is probably between 0.8 and 1.5. ( JEL E23, E62, H50)

Suggested Citation

  • Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 673-685, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:49:y:2011:i:3:p:673-85
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.49.3.673
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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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