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When is Austerity Ineffective?


  • L. Marattin


This paper offers a formal analysis of the relationship between changes in government primary balance and debt-to-GDP ratio. it establishes the conditions under which a fiscal consolidation increases - instead of decreasing - the stock of government liabilities relative to aggregate output. A crucial role is played by the relationship between the elasticities of average cost of debt and nominal output to primary balance: while the former depends on debt maturity and risk premia dynamics, the latter relates to the well-known controversy on the size of government spending multipliers. The paper shows an application to the ongoing fiscal consolidation process in the Eurozone.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Marattin, 2013. "When is Austerity Ineffective?," Working Papers wp880, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp880

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Luigi Marattin & Massimiliano Marzo, 2009. "A Note on the (Un)Pleasant Arithmetic of Fiscal Policy: The Case of Italian Public Debt," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 38(3), pages 169-183, November.
    3. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise If the Government Buys More Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 183-249.
    4. Olivier J. Blanchard & Daniel Leigh, 2013. "Growth Forecast Errors and Fiscal Multipliers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 117-120, May.
    5. Robert J. Barro & Charles J. Redlick, 2011. "Macroeconomic Effects From Government Purchases and Taxes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 51-102.
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    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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