Households' Intertemporal Choice and the Duration of Fiscal Policies: Medium-Run Non-Keynesian Effects
In this paper we study the effects of long-lasting fiscal measures on consumption, distinguishing between Keynesian effects (KE), due to changes in current disposable income, and non-Keynesian effects (NE), caused by expected changes in future disposable income. The literature has argued that fiscal contractionary adjustments can have an expansionary effect. In this paper we show that the size and sign of such NEs depend crucially on the lifetime of the representative consumer and on the timing of policy measures. We show that when fiscal measures last for more than one period this may lead to reversed NEs, where the sign of the effect is the same as the sign for a KE. We show that there exists a simple and realistic condition where sign(KE)=sign(NE). We propose a number of exercises illustrating the impact of the level of public debt on the size and sign of NE. It is shown that when measures aim to reduce public debt the effect on consumption is always negative. A number of simulations illustrate this point.
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Volume (Year): 6 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (Winter)
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