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Public consumption over the business cycle

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  • Rüdiger Bachmann
  • Jinhui H. Bai

Abstract

What fraction of the business cycle volatility of government purchases is accounted for as endogenous reactions to overall macroeconomic conditions? We answer this question in the framework of a neoclassical representative household model where the provision of a public consumption good is decided upon endogenously and in a time-consistent fashion. A simple frictionless version of such a model with aggregate productivity as the sole driving force can explain almost all the volatility of U.S. non-defense government consumption expenditures. However, such a model fails to match other important features of the business cycle dynamics of public consumption, which comes out as not persistent enough and too synchronized with the cycle. We add implementation lags and implementation costs in the budgeting process to the model, plus taste shocks for public consumption relative to private consumption, and achieve a substantially better match to the data. All these ingredients are essential to improve the fit. Depending on the precise specification of the flow utility function over private consumption, public consumption and leisure, 25-40 percent of the variance of public consumption is driven by aggregate productivity shocks.
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Suggested Citation

  • Rüdiger Bachmann & Jinhui H. Bai, 2013. "Public consumption over the business cycle," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(3), pages 417-451, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:quante:v:4:y:2013:i:3:p:417-451
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    1. Public consumption and the business cycle
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-08-18 19:49:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Axelle Ferriere & Anastasios G. Karantounias, 2019. "Fiscal Austerity in Ambiguous Times," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 89-131, January.
    2. Andreas Müller & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2016. "The Political Color Of Fiscal Responsibility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 252-302, February.
    3. Constantin ANGHELACHE & Ștefan Virgil IACOB & Dana Luiza GRIGORESCU, 2020. "The analysis of the quarterly evolution of the gross domestic product in 2019," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(1(622), S), pages 171-182, Spring.
    4. Grechyna, Daryna, 2016. "The Structure of Government Spending and the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 72029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Bachmann, Rüdiger & Sims, Eric R., 2012. "Confidence and the transmission of government spending shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 235-249.
    6. Azzimonti, Marina & Talbert, Matthew, 2014. "Polarized business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 47-61.
    7. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    8. Marina Azzimonti, 2015. "The dynamics of public investment under persistent electoral advantage," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 653-678, July.
    9. Facundo Piguillem & Anderson Schneider, 2013. "Heterogeneous Labor Skills, The Median Voter and Labor Taxes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 332-349, April.
    10. Xu, Kun & Xu, Wenli, 2015. "中国政府消费支出对经济波动的传导机理分析 [Study on Influential Mechanism Between Government Expenditure of Consumption and Economic Fluctuation]," MPRA Paper 70994, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2015.
    11. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai & Minjoon Lee & Fudong Zhang, . "The Welfare and Distributional Effects of Fiscal Volatility: a Quantitative Evaluation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Si Guo & Yun Pei & Zoe Xie, 2018. "Fiscal Decentralization, Intergovernmental Transfer, and Overborrowing," 2018 Meeting Papers 975, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Si Guo & Yun Pei & Zoe Xie, 2018. "Decentralization and Overborrowing in a Fiscal Federation," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2018-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    14. Constantin Anghelache & Madalina Gabriela Anghel & Marius Popovici, 2015. "Multiple Regressions Used in Analysis of Private Consumption and Public Final Consumption Evolution," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 5(4), pages 69-73, October.
    15. Juan Equiza Goni, 2014. "Sovereign Debt in the U.S. and Growth Expectations," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2014-25, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    16. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    17. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai & Minjoon Lee & Fudong Zhang, . "The Welfare and Distributional Effects of Fiscal Volatility: a Quantitative Evaluation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    18. Atalay, Yasemin & Kalfagianni, Agni & Pattberg, Philipp, 2017. "Renewable energy support mechanisms in the Gulf Cooperation Council states: Analyzing the feasibility of feed-in tariffs and auction mechanisms," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 723-733.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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