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Using Stock Returns to Identify Government Spending Shocks

  • JonasD.M. Fisher
  • Ryan Peters

This article explores a new approach to identifying government spending shocks which avoids many of the shortcomings of existing approaches. The new approach is to identify government spending shocks with statistical innovations to the accumulated excess returns of large US military contractors. This strategy is used to estimate the dynamic responses of output, hours, consumption and real wages to a government spending shock. We find that positive government spending shocks are associated with increases in output, hours and consumption. Real wages initially decline after a government spending shock and then rise after a year. We estimate the government spending multiplier associated with increases in military spending to be about 1.5 over a horizon of 5 years. Copyright � Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2010.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 120 (2010)
Issue (Month): 544 (05)
Pages: 414-436

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:544:p:414-436
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  1. Andrew Mountford & Harald Uhlig, 2005. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-039, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Jordi Gali & David López-Salido & Javier Valles, 2004. "Understanding the effects of government spending on consumption," International Finance Discussion Papers 805, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Roberto Perotti, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Economics Working Papers 015, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  4. 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, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  5. Wendy Edelberg & Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 1998. "Understanding the effects of a shock to government purchases," Working Paper Series WP-98-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Perotti, Roberto, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0168, European Central Bank.
  7. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1999. "Error Bands for Impulse Responses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1113-1156, September.
  8. Roberto Perotti, 2008. "In Search of the Transmission Mechanism of Fiscal Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 169-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Consumption and Employment: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2760, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas Fisher, 2004. "Fiscal Policy in the Aftermath of 9/11," NBER Working Papers 10430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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