IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Fiscal Policy in an Unemployment Crisis

  • Pontus Rendahl


    (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Economics
    Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM))

This paper shows that large fiscal multipliers arise naturally from equilibrium unemployment dynamics. In response to a shock that brings the economy into a liquidity trap, an expansion in government spending increases output and causes a fall in the unemployment rate. Since movements in unemployment are persistent, the effects of current spending linger into the future, leading to an enduring rise in income. As an enduring rise in income boosts private demand, even a temporary increase in government spending sets in motion a virtuous employment-spending spiral with a large associated multiplier. This transmission mechanism contrasts with the conventional view in which fiscal policy may be efficacious only under a prolonged and committed rise in government spending, which engineers a spiral of increasing infl ation.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) in its series Discussion Papers with number 1405.

in new window

Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfm:wpaper:1405
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  2. Isabel Correia & Emmanuel Farhi & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2013. "Unconventional Fiscal Policy at the Zero Bound," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1172-1211, June.
  3. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael Woodford, 2011. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
  5. S. Rao Aiyagari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "The output, employment, and interest rate effects of government consumption," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 25, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Wouter J. den Haan & Garey Ramey & Joel Watson, 1997. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," NBER Working Papers 6275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2010. "Labor Markets and Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Model with Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-30, April.
  8. 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.
  9. J. Stephen Ferris, 2013. "Fiscal policy," Chapters, in: The Elgar Companion to Public Choice, Second Edition, chapter 16, pages 260-283 Edward Elgar.
  10. Alessandro Barattieri & Susanto Basu & Peter Gottschalk, 2010. "Some evidence on the importance of sticky wages," Working Papers 10-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. R. Anton Braun & Lena Mareen Körber & Yuichiro Waki, 2012. "Some unpleasant properties of log-linearized solutions when the nominal rate is zero," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  12. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 673-85, September.
  13. Emi Nakamura & J?n Steinsson, 2014. "Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from US Regions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 753-92, March.
  14. Michaillat, Pascal, 2012. "A Theory of Countercyclical Government-Consumption Multiplier," CEPR Discussion Papers 9052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  16. Haefke, Christian & Sonntag, Marcus & van Rens, Thijs, 2008. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," IZA Discussion Papers 3714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Petrongolo, Barbara & Pissarides, Christopher, 2000. "Looking Into The Black Box: A Survey Of The Matching Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 2409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek, 2014. "Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage," IMF Working Papers 14/129, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2006. "Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," NBER Working Papers 12537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Pontus Rendahl, 2014. "Fiscal Policy in an Unemployment Crisis," Discussion Papers 1405, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
  21. Giovanni Olivei & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Timing of Monetary Policy Shocks," CEP Discussion Papers dp0725, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  22. Florin O. Bilbiie, 2009. "Nonseparable Preferences, Fiscal Policy Puzzles, and Inferior Goods," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(2-3), pages 443-450, 03.
  23. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Den Haan, Wouter J. & Kaltenbrunner, Georg, 2009. "Anticipated growth and business cycles in matching models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 309-327, April.
  25. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2009. "What fiscal policy is effective at zero interest rates?," Staff Reports 402, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  26. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2007. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," IEW - Working Papers 351, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  27. Mark Gertler & Antonella Trigari, 2006. "Unemployment Fluctuations with Staggered Nash Wage Bargaining," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 525, Society for Computational Economics.
  28. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  29. Rüdiger Bachmann & Eric R. Sims, 2011. "Confidence and the Transmission of Government Spending Shocks," NBER Working Papers 17063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "The unemployment volatility puzzle: is wage stickiness the answer?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4460, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  31. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
  32. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, 04.
  33. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  34. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  35. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  36. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2004. "An exploration into Pigou's theory of cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1183-1216, September.
  37. John H. Cochrane, 2013. "The New-Keynesian Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 19476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. 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.
  39. Florin Bilbiie, 2009. "Nonseparable Preferences, Fiscal Policy Puzzles, and Inferior Goods," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00622869, HAL.
  40. Daniel Shoag, 2013. "Using State Pension Shocks to Estimate Fiscal Multipliers since the Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 121-24, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cfm:wpaper:1405. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martin Hannon)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.