IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/fip/fedkpr/y2002p109-150.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is there a role for discretionary fiscal policy?

Author

Listed:
  • Alan J. Auerbach

Abstract

This paper reviews the state of discretionary fiscal policy. Among its findings are: (1) In recent years, U.S. discretionary fiscal policy appears to have become more active in response to both cyclical conditions and a simple measure of budget balance. (2) Considerable uncertainty remains about how large an impact discretionary fiscal policy has on output. (3) There is little evidence that discretionary fiscal policy has played an important stabilization role during recent decades. (4) Budgetary pressure may weaken the efficacy of expansionary fiscal policy. Conversely, contractionary fiscal policy might have a salutary effect on output. This possibility may be relevant for understanding the impact of fiscal policy in the 1990s, although the mechanism is unclear. (5) The automatic stabilizers embedded in the fiscal system have experienced little net change since the 1960s and have contributed to cushioning cyclical fluctuations. But the tax system has many attributes that weaken its potential role as an automatic stabilizer, particularly with respect to investment. (6) The government's reported fiscal position, to which fiscal policy appears responsive, represents a very poor measure of underlying fiscal balance.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Alan J. Auerbach, 2002. "Is there a role for discretionary fiscal policy?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 109-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpr:y:2002:p:109-150
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.kansascityfed.org/Publicat/sympos/2002/pdf/S02auerbach.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alan J. Auerbach, 2000. "Formation of fiscal policy: the experience of the past twenty-five years," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 9-23.
    2. Francesco Giavazzi & Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, "undated". "Searching for Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy," Working Papers 136, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    3. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1994. "What Ends Recessions?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 13-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Auerbach, Alan J & Hines, James R, Jr, 1988. "Investment Tax Incentives and Frequent Tax Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 211-216.
    5. Auerbach, Alan J, 1983. "Taxation, Corporate Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 905-940.
    6. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1981. "Output, the Stock Market, and Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 132-143, March.
    7. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior of U. S. Public Debt and Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963.
    8. Auerbach, Alan J, 1989. "Tax Reform and Adjustment Costs: The Impact on Investment and Market Value," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(4), pages 939-962, November.
    9. Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Fiscal Policy in Good Times and Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1399-1436.
    10. Hubert, Florence & Pain, Nigel, 2002. "Fiscal Incentives, European Integration and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 70(3), pages 336-363, June.
    11. Thomas J. Kniesner & James P. Ziliak, 2002. "Tax Reform and Automatic Stabilization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 590-612, June.
    12. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
    13. Alan J. Auerbach & Daniel R. Feenberg, 2000. "The Significance of Federal Taxes as Automatic Stabilizers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 37-56, Summer.
    14. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    15. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368.
    16. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hassett, Kevin, 1992. "Tax policy and business fixed investment in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 141-170, March.
    17. Giavazzi, Francesco & Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 2000. "Searching for non-linear effects of fiscal policy: Evidence from industrial and developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1259-1289, June.
    18. Auerbach, Alan J. & Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Leibfritz, Willi (ed.), 1999. "Generational Accounting around the World," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226032139.
    19. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 381-396, March.
    20. Rosanne Altshuler & Alan J. Auerbach, 1990. "The Significance of Tax Law Asymmetries: An Empirical Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 61-86.
    21. Bernd Raffelhuschen & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1999. "Generational Accounting around the Globe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 161-166.
    22. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Benjamin R. Page & John Sturrock, 1999. "Generational Accounts for the United States: An Update," NBER Chapters,in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 489-518 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpr:y:2002:p:109-150. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lu Dayrit). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbkcus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.