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The growth of government spending and the money supply: Evidence and implications within and across industrial countries

Purpose – Using quarterly data for a sample of 17 industrial countries, the purpose of this paper is to study asymmetry in the face of monetary shocks compared to government spending shocks. Design/methodology/approach – The paper outlines demand and supply channels determining the asymmetric effects of monetary and fiscal policies. The time-series model is presented and an analysis of the difference in the asymmetric effects of monetary and fiscal shocks within countries is presented. There then follows an investigation of the relevance of demand and supply conditions to the asymmetric effects of monetary and fiscal shocks. The implications of asymmetry are contrasted across countries. Findings – Fluctuations in real output growth, price inflation, wage inflation, and real wage growth vary with respect to anticipated and unanticipated shifts to the money supply, government spending, and the energy price. The asymmetric flexibility of prices appears a major factor in differentiating the expansionary and contractionary effects of fiscal and monetary shocks. Higher price inflation, relative to deflation, exacerbates output contraction, relative to expansion, in the face of monetary shocks. In contrast, larger price deflation, relative to inflation, moderates output contraction, relative to expansion in the face of government spending shocks. The growth of output and the real wage decreases, on average, in the face of monetary variability in many countries. Moreover, the growth of real output and the real wage increases, on average, in the face of government spending variability in many countries. Asymmetry differentiates the effects of monetary and government spending shocks within and across countries. The degree and direction of asymmetry provide a new dimension to differentiate between monetary and fiscal tools in the design of stabilization policies. Originality/value – The paper's evidence sheds light on the validity of theoretical models explaining asymmetry in the effects of demand-side stabilization policies. Moreover, the evidence should alert policy makers to the need to relax structural and institutional constraints to maximize the benefits of stabilization policies and minimize the adverse effects on economic variables.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Journal of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 33 (2006)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 406-436

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Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:33:y:2006:i:6:p:406-436
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