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Government Spending Under Non-Separability: a Theoretical Analysis

  • L. Marattin
  • A. Palestini

In this paper we derive analytic implicit form conditions for the qualitative analysis of government spending multipliers and the optimal level of government spending in presence of non-separability between private and public components of aggregate demand. Using the simplest neo-classical flexible price model with no capital accumulation, we show that Edgeworth dependence is not a suitable condition to automatically assess the signs of the consumption and income multipliers, for which a more complex analysis must be carried out. We propose a detailed investigation of the form and the characteristics of the involved utility functions, which are crucial to such evaluation. We also show that if Edgeworth complementarity is strong enough, a public spending stimulus can raise at the same time private consumption and real activity. In order to reconcile our general framework with existing literature, we discuss recent examples of non-separable functional forms from the standpoint of our results, and argue that their consistency relies on specific assumptions about steady- state points.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp722.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp722
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  1. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise if the Government Buys More Output?," NBER Working Papers 15496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  3. Michael Woodford, 2011. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
  4. Jang-Ting Guo & Sharon G. Harrison, 2008. "Useful Government Spending and Macroeconomic (In)stability under Balanced-Budget Rules," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 383-397, 06.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2010. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper No. 2010-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. Coenen, Günter & Straub, Roland, 2005. "Does government spending crowd in private consumption? Theory and empirical evidence for the euro area," Working Paper Series 0513, European Central Bank.
  7. Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's All in the Timing," NBER Working Papers 15464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Agustín García & Julián Ramajo, 2005. "Fiscal policy and private consumption behaviour: The Spanish case," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 115-135, January.
  9. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Linnemann, Ludger & Schabert, Andreas, 2004. "Can fiscal spending stimulate private consumption?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 173-179, February.
  11. Georgios Karras, 2012. "Trade openness and the effectiveness of fiscal policy: some empirical evidence," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 303-313, September.
  12. Fiorito, Riccardo & Kollintzas, Tryphon, 2004. "Public goods, merit goods, and the relation between private and government consumption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1367-1398, December.
  13. Giovanni Ganelli, 2007. "The Effects Of Fiscal Shocks On Consumption: Reconciling Theory And Data," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(2), pages 193-209, 03.
  14. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2011. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Working Papers 17447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Tommaso Monacelli & Roberto Perotti, 2008. "Fiscal Policy, Wealth Effects, and Markups," NBER Working Papers 14584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Bilbiie, Florin Ovidiu, 2009. "Non-Separable Preferences and Frisch Labor Supply: One Solution to a Fiscal Policy Puzzle," CEPR Discussion Papers 7484, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Paul Krugman, 2012. "Debt, Deleveraging, and the Liquidity Trap: A Fisher-Minsky-Koo Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1469-1513.
  18. Ganelli, Giovanni & Tervala, Juha, 2009. "Can government spending increase private consumption? The role of complementarity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 5-7, April.
  19. Iwata, Yasuharu, 2013. "Two fiscal policy puzzles revisited: New evidence and an explanation," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 188-207.
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