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How does the U.S. government finance fiscal shocks?

  • Antje Berndt
  • Hanno Lustig
  • Sevin Yeltekin

We develop a method for identifying and quantifying the fiscal channels that help finance government spending shocks. We define fiscal shocks as surprises in defense spending and show that they are more precisely identified when defense stock data are used in addition to aggregate macroeconomic data. Our results show that in the postwar period, about 9% of the U.S. government’s unantic- ipated spending needs were financed by a reduction in the market value of debt and more than 70% by an increase in primary sur- pluses. Additionally, we find that long-term debt is more effective at absorbing fiscal risk than short-term debt.

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File URL: https://student-3k.tepper.cmu.edu/gsiadoc/wp/2006-E70.pdf
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Paper provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business in its series GSIA Working Papers with number 2006-E70.

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Handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:1153249048
Contact details of provider: Postal: Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Web page: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/

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  1. Hess, Gregory D, 1993. "A Test of the Theory of Optimal Taxation for the United States, 1869-1989," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 712-16, November.
  2. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
  3. Campbell, John Y, 1993. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing without Consumption Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 487-512, June.
  4. Isabel Correia & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2002. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: equivalence results," Working Paper Series WP-02-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Jonas D. M. Fisher & Ryan Peters, 2009. "Using stock returns to identify government spending shocks," Working Paper Series WP-09-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Bohn, Henning, 1988. "Why do we have nominal government debt?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 127-140, January.
  7. John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Some Lessons from the Yield Curve," NBER Working Papers 5031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christopher Sleet, 2004. "Optimal Taxation with Private Government Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1217-1239.
  9. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  10. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hess Chung & Eric Leeper, 2007. "What Has Financed Government Debt?," Caepr Working Papers 2007-015, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  12. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy With Noncontingent Debt And The Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131, August.
  13. Bizer, David S. & Durlauf, Steven N., 1990. "Testing the positive theory of government finance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 123-141, August.
  14. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  15. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
  16. Christopher Sleet, 2004. "Optimal Taxation with Private Government Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1217-1239, October.
  17. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
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