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Non-Separable Preferences and Frisch Labor Supply: One Solution to a Fiscal Policy Puzzle


  • Bilbiie, Florin Ovidiu


This paper proposes a theoretical explanation of the empirical finding that private consumption increases in response to an increase in government spending. The explanation requires two ingredients. First, labor demand expands (e.g. prices are sticky). Second, general non-separable preferences over consumption and leisure should be such that Frisch labor supply elasticity is lower than the constant-consumption elasticity; this implies that constant-consumption labor supply shifts left. Existing empirical evidence on the relative magnitudes of the two elasticities supports this hypothesis. The parametric conditions under which the result occurs are consistent with restrictions of concavity and non-inferiority of consumption and leisure.

Suggested Citation

  • Bilbiie, Florin Ovidiu, 2009. "Non-Separable Preferences and Frisch Labor Supply: One Solution to a Fiscal Policy Puzzle," CEPR Discussion Papers 7484, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7484

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Devereux, Michael B & Head, Allen C & Lapham, Beverly J, 1996. "Monopolistic Competition, Increasing Returns, and the Effects of Government Spending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 233-254, May.
    2. Fuhrer, Jeffrey C. & Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2004. "Estimating the Euler equation for output," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1133-1153, September.
    3. Ravn, Morten O & Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2007. "Explaining the Effects of Government Spending Shocks on Consumption and the Real Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 6541, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Hintermaier, Thomas, 2003. "On the minimum degree of returns to scale in sunspot models of the business cycle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 400-409, June.
    5. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-417, June.
    6. Florin O. Bilbiie & Roland Straub, 2004. "Fiscal Policy, Business Cycles and Labor-Market Fluctuations," MNB Working Papers 2004/6, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
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    Cited by:

    1. Luigi Marattin & Arsen Palestini, 2014. "Government spending under non-separability: a theoretical analysis," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 61(1), pages 39-60, April.
    2. Juessen, Falko & Linnemann, Ludger, 2012. "Markups and fiscal transmission in a panel of OECD countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 674-686.
    3. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise If the Government Buys More Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 183-249.
    4. Enders, Zeno & Müller, Gernot J. & Scholl, Almuth, 2011. "How do fiscal and technology shocks affect real exchange rates?: New evidence for the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 53-69, January.
    5. L. Marattin & M. Marzo, 2010. "The Multiplier-Effects of Non-Wasteful Government Expenditure," Working Papers 704, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    6. Madalina-Gabriela ANGHEL & Constantin Anghelache & Tudor SAMSON & Radu STOICA, 2016. "Analysis of index prices of population consumption reveals a moderation through fiscal measures," Romanian Statistical Review Supplement, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 64(12), pages 148-156, December.

    More about this item


    fiscal policy; Frisch elasticity of labor supply; government spending; non-separable preferences; private consumption; sticky prices;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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