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Expansionary Fiscal Contractions: Re-evaluating the Danish Case


  • U. Michael Bergman
  • Michael Hutchison


The Expansionary Fiscal Contraction (EFC) hypothesis predicts that a major fiscal consolidation leads to an economic expansion under certain circumstances. We test this hypothesis, and the implied non-linear responses of the economy to large and small changes in fiscal policy, using data from the 1983 Danish fiscal reform. We use a structural VAR/event study methodology following Blanchard and Perotti (2002) that explicitly allows us to distinguish between normally marginal changes in fiscal policy and comprehensive fiscal reforms. We find that 'marginal changes' in fiscal policy (expenditure and tax changes) have the expected Keynesian effects on output and consumption. However, we find no evidence that the large fiscal consolidation in Denmark slowed the economy after controlling for a host of exogenous shocks and business cycle effects. Rather, we find some support for the hypothesis that the exogenous fiscal contraction in Denmark was a credible regime shift and, together with other reforms undertaken at the time, increased both private consumption and aggregate output.

Suggested Citation

  • U. Michael Bergman & Michael Hutchison, 2010. "Expansionary Fiscal Contractions: Re-evaluating the Danish Case," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 71-93.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intecj:v:24:y:2010:i:1:p:71-93
    DOI: 10.1080/10168731003589857

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roberto Perotti, 2005. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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    Cited by:

    1. Argentino Pessoa, 2013. "Regional integration and the euro crisis: problems and solutions," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1153, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Søren Ravn & Morten Spange, 2014. "The Effects of Fiscal Policy in a Small Open Economy with a Fixed Exchange Rate," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 451-476, July.
    3. Mehmet BÖLÜKBAÞ, 2016. "The Effects of Economic Policies in Turkey: An Application for the Period After 2000," Journal of Social and Administrative Sciences, KSP Journals, vol. 3(4), pages 315-322, December.
    4. Geiger, Martin & Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Scharler, Johann, 2016. "When do fiscal consolidations lead to consumption booms? Lessons from a laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-20.
    5. Legrand, Romain, 2014. "Euro introduction: Has there been a structural change? Study on 10 European Union countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 136-151.


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