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Government Spending Shocks and the Multiplier: New Evidence from the U.S. Based on Natural Disasters

Author

Listed:
  • Weonho Yang
  • Jan Fidrmuc
  • Sugata Ghosh

Abstract

The literature on estimating macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy requires suitable instruments to identify exogenous and unanticipated spending shocks. So far, the instrument of choice has been military build-ups. This instrument, however, largely limits the analysis to the US as few other countries have been involved in mainly extraterritorial conflicts. Moreover, the expenditure associated with military build-ups affects primarily the defense sector so that the resulting multiplier does not necessarily approximate the effects of changes to general government spending. We propose an alternative instrument: government relief expenditure in the wake of natural disasters which is more similar in its scope to general government spending. We construct a rich data set of natural disasters and the corresponding government responses at the US state level. We apply this methodology both at the state as well as national levels and show that natural disasters serve as a powerful instrument for identifying government spending shocks. Furthermore, we show that the multiplier pertaining to non-defense government spending is higher than the defense-spending multiplier estimated in the literature using military build-ups.

Suggested Citation

  • Weonho Yang & Jan Fidrmuc & Sugata Ghosh, 2012. "Government Spending Shocks and the Multiplier: New Evidence from the U.S. Based on Natural Disasters," CESifo Working Paper Series 4005, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4005
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4005.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Fidrmuc & Sugata Ghosh & Weonho Yang, 2015. "Natural Disasters, Government Spending, and the Fiscal Multiplier," CESifo Working Paper Series 5665, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Klinedinst, Mark, 2014. "Corporate Walkover in Progress: The Case of the Southern Company’s “Clean Coal” Plant in Mississippi," MPRA Paper 62214, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Yilin Hou & Qing Miao & Michael Abrigo, 2016. "Measuring the Financial Shocks of Natural Disasters: A Panel Study of U.S. States," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 199, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal shocks; narrative approach; fiscal multiplier; natural disaster;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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