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The Effects of Social Spending on Economic Activity: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries

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  • Davide Furceri
  • Aleksandra Zdzienicka

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to assess the short term effects of social spending on economic activity. Using a panel of OECD countries from 1980 to 2005, the results show that social spending has expansionary effects on GDP. In particular, we find that an increase of 1% of social spending increases GDP by about 0.1 percentage point, which, given the share of social spending to GDP, corresponds to a multiplier of about 0.6. The effect is similar to the one of total government spending, and it is larger in periods of severe downturns. Among spending subcategories, social spending in Health and Unemployment benefits have the greatest effects. Social spending also positively affects private consumption while it has negligible effects on investment. The empirical results are economically and statistically significant, and robust.
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Suggested Citation

  • Davide Furceri & Aleksandra Zdzienicka, 2012. "The Effects of Social Spending on Economic Activity: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 129-152, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:129-152
    DOI: j.1475-5890.2012.00155.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1475-5890.2012.00155.x
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maarten de Ridder, 2016. "Investment in Productivity and the Long-Run Effect of Financial Crises on Output," Discussion Papers 1630, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    2. Jacopo Cimadomo & Sebastian Hauptmeier & Sergio Sola, 2011. "Identifying the Effects of Government Spending Shocks with and without Expected Reversal: an Approach Based on U.S. Real-Time Data," IHEID Working Papers 12-2011, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    3. Davide Furceri & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2011. "Does Government Spending Crowd Out Private Consumption and Investment?," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 12(4), pages 153-170, October.
    4. Marta Simões & Adelaide Duarte & João Sousa Andrade, 2014. "Assessing the Impact of the Welfare State on Economic Growth: A Survey of Recent Developments," GEMF Working Papers 2014-20, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    5. Bernardi, L., 2012. "Heterogeneity of taxation in EA Member countries and some implications for EA fiscal governance," MPRA Paper 40050, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. de Ridder, Maarten, 2016. "Investment in productivity and the long-run effect of financial crises on output," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86180, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. de Ridder, M. & Pfajfar, D., 2017. "Policy Shocks and Wage Rigidities: Empirical Evidence from Regional Effects of National Shocks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1717, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. Athanasios Tagkalakis, 2013. "The unemployment effects of fiscal policy: recent evidence from Greece," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-32, December.
    9. Leonel Muinelo-Gallo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2017. "Long-term effects of fiscal policy in Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 17-02, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    10. Sebastian Gechert & Ansgar Rannenberg, 2014. "Are Fiscal Multipliers Regime-Dependent? A Meta Regression Analysis," IMK Working Paper 139-2014, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    11. Marta C. N. Simões & Adelaide P. S. Duarte & João Sousa Andrade, 2015. "Social Spending, Inequality and Growth in Times of Austerity: Insights from Portugal," GEMF Working Papers 2015-16, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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