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When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?

  • Lawrence Christiano
  • Martin Eichenbaum
  • Sergio Rebelo

We argue that the government-spending multiplier can be much larger than one when the zero lower bound on the nominal interest rate binds. The larger the fraction of government spending that occurs while the nominal interest rate is zero, the larger the value of the multiplier. After providing intuition for these results, we investigate the size of the multiplier in a dynamic, stochastic, general equilibrium model. In this model the multiplier effect is substantially larger than one when the zero bound binds. Our model is consistent with the behavior of key macro aggregates during the recent financial crisis.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 119 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 78 - 121

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/659312
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  1. Eberly, Janice & Rebelo, Sérgio & Vincent, Nicolas, 2008. "Investment and Value: A Neoclassical Benchmark," CEPR Discussion Papers 6737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ethan Ilzetzki & Enrique G. Mendoza & Carlos A. Végh, 2010. "How Big (Small?) are Fiscal Multipliers?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1016, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. R. Anton Braun & Yuichiro Waki, 2006. "Monetary Policy During Japan'S Lost Decade," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(2), pages 324-344.
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