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The Precautionary Saving Effect of Government Consumption

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  • Ercolani, Valerio
  • Pavoni, Nicola

Abstract

We study a largely neglected channel through which government expenditures boost private consumption. We set up a lifecycle model in which households are subject to health shocks. We estimate a negative impact of public health care on household consumption dispersion, wealth and saving. According to our model, this result is explained by a change in the level of precautionary saving, with public health care acting as a form of consumption insurance. We compute the implied consumption multipliers by simulating the typical government consumption shock within a calibrated general equilibrium version of our model, with flexible prices. The impact consumption multiplier generated by the decrease in the level of precautionary saving is positive and sizable. When we include the effect of taxation, the sign of the impact multiplier depends on a few features of the model, such as the persistence of the health shocks. The long-run cumulative multiplier is negative across all calibrations.

Suggested Citation

  • Ercolani, Valerio & Pavoni, Nicola, 2014. "The Precautionary Saving Effect of Government Consumption," CEPR Discussion Papers 10067, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10067
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    Cited by:

    1. Giulio Fella & Antonello d'Alessandro, 2017. "Fiscal Stimulus with Learning-By-Doing," Working Papers 826, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    2. James S. Cloyne & Paolo Surico, 2017. "Household Debt and the Dynamic Effects of Income Tax Changes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-81.
    3. repec:ptu:bdpart:e201610 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. António R. Antunes & Valerio Ercolani, 2016. "Public debt expansions and the dynamics of the household borrowing constraint," Working Papers w201618, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumption multipliers; government expenditure by function; precautionary saving;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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