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Cyclical Fiscal Policy, Output Volatility, and Economic Growth

  • Harald Badinger

This paper provides a comprehensive empirical assessment of the relation between the cyclicality of fiscal policy, output volatility, and economic growth, using a large cross-section of 88 countries over the period 1960 to 2004. Identification of the effects of (endogenous) cyclical fiscal policy is achieved by exploiting the exogeneity of countries’ political and institutional characteristics, which we find to be relevant determinants of fiscal cyclicality. There are three main results: First, both pro- and countercyclical fiscal policy amplify output volatility, much in a way like pure fiscal shocks that are unrelated to the cycle. Second, output volatility, due to variations in cyclical and discretionary fiscal policy, is negatively associated with economic growth. Third, there is no direct effect of cyclicality of economic growth other than through output volatility. These findings advocate the introduction of fiscal rules that limit the use of (discretionary and) cyclical fiscal policy to improve growth performance by reducing volatility.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-04/cesifo1_wp2268.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2268.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2268
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  12. Ramey, Garey & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link between Volatility and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1138-51, December.
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  15. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2003. "The Case For Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1419-1447, November.
  16. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Yunyong Thaicharoen, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Aghion, Philippe & Marinescu, Ioana, 2007. "Cyclical Budgetary Policy and Economic Growth: What Do We Learn From OECD Panel Data?," Scholarly Articles 3350066, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
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  20. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  21. H. Badinger, 2009. "Fiscal rules, discretionary fiscal policy and macroeconomic stability: an empirical assessment for OECD countries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(7), pages 829-847.
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