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Fiscal Policy in an Unemployment Crisis

  • Rendahl, P.

This paper argues that the effectiveness of fiscal policy may increase markedly during periods of low nominal interest rates and high, persistent, unemployment. An increase in government spending boosts economic activity and reduces the unemployment rate both in the present and in the future. As a less disconcerting future spurs a rise in private consumption, unemployment falls even further and triggers an additional rise in private demand, and so on. In a stylized model, I show that the marginal impact of government spending on output is equal to the reciprocal of the elasticity of intertemporal substitution. In a more realistic framework, the effect is somewhat attenuated and displays significant nonlinearities with respect to the depth of the crisis as well as the size of the stimulus package. But in a severe recession with an unemployment rate of eight percent or above, the fiscal multiplier is equal to 1.5.

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File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe1211.pdf
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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 1211.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1211
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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  1. Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek, 2014. "Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage," IMF Working Papers 14/129, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Rendahl, P., 2012. "Fiscal Policy in an Unemployment Crisis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1211, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2011. "Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from U.S. Regions," NBER Working Papers 17391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ch. Pissarides., 2011. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 1.
  5. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  6. Barattieri, Alessandro & Basu, Susanto & Gottschalk, Peter T., 2010. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 5039, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. JonasD.M. Fisher & Ryan Peters, 2010. "Using Stock Returns to Identify Government Spending Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 414-436, 05.
  8. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00622869 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. R. Anton Braun & Lena Mareen Körber & Yuichiro Waki, 2012. "Some unpleasant properties of log-linearized solutions when the nominal rate is zero," Working Paper 2012-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  10. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
  11. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  12. Daniel J. Wilson, 2012. "Fiscal Spending Jobs Multipliers: Evidence from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 251-82, August.
  13. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2011. "What Fiscal Policy is Effective at Zero Interest Rates?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 59-112 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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