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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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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/659312
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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/659312
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. John F. Cogan & John B. Taylor, 2012. "What the Government Purchases Multiplier Actually Multiplied in the 2009 Stimulus Package," Book Chapters, in: Lee E. Ohanian & John B. Taylor & Ian J. Wright (ed.), Government Policies and the Delayed Economic Recovery, chapter 5 Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
  2. Janice Eberly & Sergio Rebelo & Nicolas Vincent, 2009. "Investment and Value: a Neoclassical Benchmark," Cahiers de recherche 0908, CIRPEE.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Joshua M. Davis, 2006. "Two flaws in business cycle accounting," Working Paper Series WP-06-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
  5. Ethan Ilzetzki & Enrique G. Mendoza & Carlos A. Végh, 2010. "How Big (Small?) are Fiscal Multipliers?," NBER Working Papers 16479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. R. Anton Braun & Yuichiro Waki, 2005. "Monetary Policy during Japan's Lost Decade," CARF F-Series CARF-F-035, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  8. Gali, J., 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," Working Papers 96-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. Coenen, Günter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The Zero-Interest Rate Bound and the Role of the Exchange Rate for Monetary Policy in Japan," CEPR Discussion Papers 3895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 10840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Joshua M. Davis, 2006. "Two flaws in business cycle dating," Working Paper 0612, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  12. Coenen, Guenter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The Zero-Interest-Rate and the Role of the Exchange Rate for Monetary Policy in Japan," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Prescott, Edward C, 1971. "Investment Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 659-81, September.
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