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Activist Fiscal Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • William G. Gale
  • Benjamin H. Harris

Abstract

During and after the "Great Recession" that began in December 2007, the U.S. federal government enacted several rounds of activist fiscal policy. In this paper, we review the recent evolution of thinking and evidence regarding the effectiveness of activist fiscal policy. Although fiscal interventions aimed at stimulating and stabilizing the economy have returned to common use, their efficacy remains controversial. We review the debate about the traditional types of fiscal policy interventions, such as broad-based tax cuts and spending increases, as well as more targeted policies. While there have been improvements in estimates of the effects of broad-based policies, much of what has been learned recently concerns how such multipliers might vary with respect to economic conditions, such as the credit market disruptions and very low interest rates that were central features of the Great Recession. The eclectic and innovative interventions by the Federal Reserve and other central banks during this period highlight the imprecise divisions between monetary and fiscal policy and the many channels through which fiscal policies can be implemented.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan J. Auerbach & William G. Gale & Benjamin H. Harris, 2010. "Activist Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 141-164, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:4:p:141-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.4.141
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.24.4.141
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Steinar Holden, 2012. "Implications of insights from behavioral economics for macroeconomic models," IMK Working Paper 99-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    2. Makin, Anthony J. & Ratnasiri, Shyama, 2015. "Competitiveness and government expenditure: The Australian example," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 154-161.
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    16. Geiger, Martin & Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Scharler, Johann, 2016. "When do fiscal consolidations lead to consumption booms? Lessons from a laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-20.
    17. David Dequech, 2016. "Some Institutions (Social Norms And Conventions) Of Contemporary Mainstream Economics, Macroeconomics, And Financial Economics," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 006, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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