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Fiscal Multipliers and Beyond

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Warmedinger

    () (European Central Bank)

  • Cristina Checherita-Westphal

    () (European Central Bank)

  • Pablo Hernández de Cos

    () (Banco de España)

Abstract

This paper seeks to link the debate surrounding short-term fiscal multipliers with the medium and longer-term impact of fiscal consolidation on public debt sustainability. A literature review and empirical findings for state-dependent multipliers confirm that there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the size of the short-term multiplier. Notably, multipliers may be larger in deep recessions or financial crises, but the negative impact of fiscal consolidation is mitigated when public finances are weak. Using a stylised framework and a range of plausible values for the fiscal multiplier, simulations suggest that an increase in the debt ratio following episodes of fiscal consolidation is likely to be short-lived. Even in a macroeconomic context in which multipliers are high, a frontloaded fiscal consolidation reduces the total consolidation effort and implies a faster stabilisation of the debt ratio. In general, backloading is subject to higher implementation risks, most notably in the light of political economy considerations. Overall, when determining the fiscal adjustment path, both the short-term costs and the longer-term benefits need to be taken into account. Particular attention should be paid to the composition of consolidation packages, with well-designed adjustments likely to imply a faster stabilisation of the debt ratio.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Warmedinger & Cristina Checherita-Westphal & Pablo Hernández de Cos, 2015. "Fiscal Multipliers and Beyond," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 215(4), pages 139-168, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2015:v:215:i:4:p:139-168
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    Cited by:

    1. Vetlov, Igor & Ferdinandusse, Marien & de Jong, Jasper & Funda, Josip, 2017. "The effect of public investment in Europe: a model-based assessment," Working Paper Series 2021, European Central Bank.
    2. Penson, Enrique, 2017. "An Analytic Estimation of the Multiplier Effect of Public Consumption in the Dominican Republic: 2007-2012," MPRA Paper 88592, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Klemm, Alexander & Viefers, Paul, 2016. "Governments’ payment discipline: The macroeconomic impact of public payment delays and arrears," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 47(PB), pages 147-165.
    4. Alberto Botta, 2016. "The Short- and Long-run Inconsistency of the Expansionary Austerity Theory: A Post-Keynesian/Evolutionist Critique," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_878, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. Conrad Scheibe, 2016. "Fiscal Consolidations and Their Effects on Income Inequality," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 2016-4, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policies; Government debt; Sustainability; Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance.;

    JEL classification:

    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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