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Une étude économétrique de l'impact des dépenses publiques et des prélèvements fiscaux sur l'activité économique au Québec et au Canada

  • Louis Phaneuf
  • Étienne Wasmer

What is the impact of government policy on economic activity in Quebec and Canada? Do taxes have a distorsive effect? Does spending stimulate activity? Is the net outcome positive, neutral or negative from a macroeconomic perspective? We address these questions here. We attempt to clarify the relative merits of several empirical strategies and then propose a series of answers in the context of Quebec and Canada, for which we measure, in particular, the quantitative impact of taxes and public spending on GDP. For this purpose, we use a semi-structural vector-autoregressive approach (SVAR). For the first time, we apply this methodology to Quebec as a result of the recent availability of quarterly time-series data. Our main findings are as follows. 1) Fiscal shocks and spending shocks are relatively persistent the latter being more persistent; 2) output shocks are the most persistent of all shocks; 3) public spending generates more output in the short run, but the increase is modest; 4) distorsive effects of taxes reduce output; 5) when the effects 3) and 4) propagate over time, negative effects of taxes seem to dominate after a few years. Two additional results, the robustness of which needs to be checked, open interesting new perspective. We find that 6) spending multipliers are smaller at the federal level with respect to the provincial level and 7) distorsive effects of taxes seem to be larger. Quel est l'impact des politiques des gouvernements sur l'activité économique au Québec et au Canada ? Les taxes ont-elles un effet négatif par les distorsions qu'elles induisent ? Les dépenses stimulent-elles l'activité ? Le bilan est-il neutre, positif ou négatif d'un point de vue macroéconomique ? Nous proposons ici d'adresser ces questions, de clarifier les mérites respectifs des diverses approches empiriques et de proposer une série de réponses dans le contexte du Québec et du Canada. Nous mesurons en particulier l'impact quantitatif des dépenses publiques et des prélèvements fiscaux sur l'activité économique dans ces deux zones géographiques. Pour cela, nous utilisons une approche économétrique de type vecteurs-autorégressifs qui peut être qualifiée de « semi-structurelle » (SVAR). Pour la première fois, nous appliquons ce type d'approche à l'économie québécoise en raison de la disponibilité récente de données trimestrielles se rapportant à certains agrégats nécessaires à la réalisation d'une telle étude. Nos principaux résultats sont les suivants : 1) les chocs fiscaux et les chocs de dépenses sont relativement persistants, surtout en ce qui concerne les dépenses; 2) de tous les chocs étudiés, les chocs d'activité sont les plus persistants; 3) les dépenses publiques influent sur l'activité économique à court terme, mais modestement; 4) les effets distorsifs des taxes réduisent l'activité économique; 5) lorsque les effets cumulés des mécanismes 3) et 4) se propagent dans le temps, les effets négatifs des taxes semblent l'emporter après quelques années. Quant aux deux autres résultats dont la robustesse reste à vérifier mais qui ouvrent des perspectives intéressantes : 6) les multiplicateurs de dépense au niveau fédéral sembleraient inférieurs par rapport à ceux au niveau provincial, et 7) les effets distorsifs des taxes y seraient plus forts.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Project Reports with number 2005rp-20.

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Length: 103 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirpro:2005rp-20
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  1. Barro, Robert J., 1981. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," Scholarly Articles 3451294, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "The Ricardian Approach to Budget Deficits," Working Papers 728, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  5. David Alan Aschauer, 1986. "The equilibrium approach to fiscal policy," Staff Memoranda 86-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1999. "Costly Capital Reallocation and the Effects of Government Spending," NBER Working Papers 6283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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