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Short-Run Effects of Fiscal Policy With Forward-Looking Financial Markets

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  • Elmendorf, Douglas W.
  • Reifschneider, David L.

Abstract

We explore the short-run effects of fiscal policy using simulations of an empirical, rational-expectations, open-economy macromodel developed at the Federal Reserve Board. Based on this model, we find that tax cuts and spending increases generally stimulate economic activity in the short run, contrary to the extreme view that forward-looking financial markets more than offset the direct expansionary impulse of those actions. However, the magnitude of the stimulus is greatly attenuated by the financial-market feedback. For example, a sustained cut in personal income taxes raises output by less than the amount of the tax cut itself, and it likely reduces output (relative to baseline) in the first several years if phased in gradually over time. Our results also show that the estimated stimulus imparted by fiscal policy is sensitive to reasonable variation in the model’s parameters.

Suggested Citation

  • Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Reifschneider, David L., 2002. "Short-Run Effects of Fiscal Policy With Forward-Looking Financial Markets," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(3), pages 357-386, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:55:y:2002:i:3:p:357-86
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    2. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-283, March.
    3. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 210-248, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Afonso, António & Martins, Manuel M.F., 2012. "Level, slope, curvature of the sovereign yield curve, and fiscal behaviour," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 1789-1807.
    2. Antonio Spilimbergo & Steve Symansky & Olivier Blanchard & Carlo Cottarelli, 2009. "Fiscal Policy For The Crisis," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 26-32, July.
    3. Diego E. Vacaflores, 2013. "Monetary Transfers in the U.S.: How Efficient Are Tax Rebates?," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(3), pages 1-23, November.
    4. Edge, Rochelle M. & Rudd, Jeremy B., 2011. "General-equilibrium effects of investment tax incentives," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 564-577.
    5. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2005. "Deficits and Debt in the Short and Long Run," NBER Working Papers 11630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Martin Feldstein, 2002. "The Role for Discretionary Fiscal Policy in a Low Interest Rate Environment," NBER Working Papers 9203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. David L. Reifschneider & John M. Roberts, 2005. "Expectations formation and the effectiveness of strategies for limiting the consequences of the zero bound on interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. William Gale & Peter Orszag, 2005. "Economic Effects of Making the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Permanent," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(2), pages 193-232, March.

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