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Are there asymmetries in fiscal policy shocks?


  • Periklis Gogas
  • Ioannis Pragidis


Purpose - – The purpose of this paper is to test the effects of unanticipated fiscal policy shocks on the growth rate and the cyclical component of real private output and reveal different types of asymmetries in fiscal policy implementation. Design/methodology/approach - – The authors use two alternative vector autoregressive systems in order to construct the fiscal policy shocks: one with the simple sum monetary aggregate MZM and one with the alternative CFS Divisia MZM aggregate. From each one of these systems we extracted four types of shocks: a negative and a positive government spending shock and a negative and a positive government revenue shock. These eight different types of unanticipated fiscal shocks were used next to empirically examine their effects on the growth rate and cyclical component of real private GNP in two sets of regressions: one that assumes only contemporaneous effects of the shocks on output and one that is augmented with four lags of each fiscal shock. Findings - – The authors come up with three key findings: first, all fiscal multipliers are below unity but with signs as predicted by Keynesian theory. Second, government expenditures have a larger impact as compared to the tax policy and finally, positive government spending shocks are more significant than negative spending shocks. All these results are in line with previous studies and are robust through many tests using structural identification proposed by Blanchard and Perotti (2002). Practical implications - – The empirical findings in this manuscript can be used for conducting a more efficient fiscal policy. The importance of government spending shocks is empirically verified along with the asymmetries related to price stickiness predicted by Keynesian theory. According to the results an efficient fiscal policy would: in terms of an expansionary policy, use government spending as a means to stimulate the economy instead of tax cuts and in the case of a contractionary policy use government revenue (higher taxes) so that the costs of this policy in terms of output lost are lower. Originality/value - – In this study the authors introduce three main innovations: first, to the best of our knowledge the Divisia monetary aggregates have not yet been used to previous research pertaining to fiscal policy. Second, following Cover’s (1992) procedure of identifying monetary policy shocks we extract the unanticipated fiscal policy shocks on government spending and revenue. Finally, the authors explicitly test for the asymmetric effects on the growth rate and the cyclical component of real private GNP of a contractionary and expansionary fiscal policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Periklis Gogas & Ioannis Pragidis, 2015. "Are there asymmetries in fiscal policy shocks?," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 42(2), pages 303-321, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:42:y:2015:i:2:p:303-321
    DOI: 10.1108/JES-04-2013-0059

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