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A primer on the empirical identification of government spending shocks

  • Kristie M. Engemann
  • Michael T. Owyang
  • Sarah Zubairy

The empirical literature on the effects of government spending shocks lacks unanimity about the responses of consumption and wages. Proponents of shocks identified by structural vector auto-regressions (VARs) find results consistent with New Keynesian models: consumption and wages increase. On the other hand, proponents of the narrative approach find results consistent with neoclassical models: consumption and wages decrease. This paper reviews these two identifications and confirms their differences by using standard economic series. It also uses alternative measures of government spending, output, and the labor market and shows that, although there are minor fluctuations within each identification, the disparate results between the two are robust to the alternative measures. However, under the structural VAR approach, the authors find some differences between the responses to federal and state/local government spending.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2008)
Issue (Month): Mar ()
Pages: 117-132

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2008:i:mar:p:117-132:n:v.90no.2
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  1. Roberto Perotti, 2005. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Wendy Edelberg & Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 1998. "Understanding the effects of a shock to government purchases," Working Paper Series WP-98-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2007. "Debt and the Effects of Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 12822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Consumption and Employment: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2760, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Jon Faust, 1998. "The robustness of identified VAR conclusions about money," International Finance Discussion Papers 610, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
  7. Andrew Mountford & Harald Uhlig, 2005. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-039, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  8. Morten Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2004. "Deep Habits," NBER Working Papers 10261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lei Fang & Richard Rogerson, 2009. "Policy Analysis In A Matching Model With Intensive And Extensive Margins," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1153-1168, November.
  10. Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas Fisher, 2004. "Fiscal Policy in the Aftermath of 9/11," NBER Working Papers 10430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ramey, Valerie A. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1998. "Costly capital reallocation and the effects of government spending," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 145-194, June.
  12. repec:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:1:p:1-50 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's All in the Timing," NBER Working Papers 15464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Paustian Matthias, 2007. "Assessing Sign Restrictions," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-33, August.
  15. Roberto Perotti, 2008. "In Search of the Transmission Mechanism of Fiscal Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 169-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Pappa, Evi, 2005. "New-Keynesian or RBC Transmission? The Effects of Fiscal Shocks in Labour Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5313, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Faust, Jon, 1998. "The robustness of identified VAR conclusions about money," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 207-244, December.
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