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Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Adjustment: A Tale of two Approaches

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  • Weonho Yang
  • Jan Fidrmuc
  • Sugata Ghosh

Abstract

We investigate the short-term effects of fiscal adjustment on economic activity in 20 OECD countries from 1970 to 2009. We compare two approaches: the traditional approach based on changes in cyclically adjusted primary balance (CAPB) and the narrative approach based on historical records. Proponents of the latter argue that it captures discretionary fiscal adjustment more accurately than the traditional approach. We propose a new definition of CAPB that takes account of fluctuations in asset prices and reflects idiosyncratic features of fiscal policy in individual countries. Using this new definition, we find that fiscal adjustments always have contractionary effects on economic activity in the short term; we find no evidence of expansionary (non-Keynesian) fiscal adjustments. Spending-based fiscal adjustments lead to smaller output loses than tax-based fiscal adjustment. These results are in line with the literature using the narrative approach, suggesting that the CAPB, when correctly specified, can be used as a measure of fiscal adjustments.

Suggested Citation

  • Weonho Yang & Jan Fidrmuc & Sugata Ghosh, 2013. "Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Adjustment: A Tale of two Approaches," CESifo Working Paper Series 4401, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4401
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Olgica Glavaški & Emilija Beker Pucar, 2021. "Heterogeneity of fiscal adjustments in EU economies in the pre- and post-crisis periods: common correlated effects approach," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 11(1), pages 191-226, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal policy; fiscal adjustment; narrative approach; cyclically adjusted primary balance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • 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

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