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How Big Was the Effect of Budget Consolidation on the Australian Economy in the 1990s?

  • Lei Lei Song
  • John Freebairn

This article evaluates the effects of budget consolidation on the Australian economy in the 1990s. As the economy recovered from the 1991-92 recession, the need to improve the fiscal balance to lift national saving became the dominant influence on fiscal policy. The article argues that spending cuts by the Australian federal government announced in 1996 had immediate effects on financial markets, with reduced long-term interest rates of about 50 basis points in 1996-97. Using a modified version of the Treasury macroeconometric model of the Australian economy (TRYM), the article simulates the net macroeconomic effects of the expenditure cuts, fiscal consolidation and lower long-term interest rates. The article finds that the program of budget consolidation had a sizeable short- and medium-term impact on the economy, raising Gross Domestic Product by up to three-quarters of a percentage point and reducing unemployment by 0.3 percentage points over the next two to three years. Copyright 2006 The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

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Article provided by The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research in its journal Australian Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 39 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 35-46

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:39:y:2006:i:1:p:35-46
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