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The Limits to Fiscal Stimulus

  • Buiter, Willem H.

The paper considers the case for an internationally coordinated further fiscal stimulus during the second half of 2009. Although this makes some of the analysis period-specific, most of the issues and principles considered are timeless. For a fiscal stimulus to be both effective there must be idle resources due to a failure of effective demand. For it to be desirable, there must be no alternative policy instruments (including monetary policy) for boosting demand. There must be no complete financial crowding out and no complete direct crowding out, through Ricardian equivalence/debt neutrality, through Minsky equivalence or through a high degree of substitutability between private and public exhaustive expenditure in private preferences or production possibilities. Finally, for international coordination to be desirable, there must be cross-border externalities from national fiscal stimuli. The paper considers each of these conditions in turn.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7607.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7607
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  1. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  2. Carroll, Christopher D, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55, February.
  3. Mountford, Andrew & Uhlig, Harald, 2002. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Roberto Perotti, 2007. "In Search of the Transmission Mechanism of Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 13143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Antonio Spilimbergo & Steve Symansky & Olivier Blanchard & Carlo Cottarelli, 2009. "Fiscal Policy For The Crisis," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 26-32, 07.
  6. Ilzetzki, Ethan & Mendoza, Enrique G. & Végh, Carlos A., 2013. "How big (small?) are fiscal multipliers?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 239-254.
  7. Willem Buiter, 2009. "Negative Nominal Interest Rates: Three ways to overcome the zero lower bound," FMG Discussion Papers dp636, Financial Markets Group.
  8. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  9. Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Credit Rationing and Effective Supply Failures," NBER Working Papers 1619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates
    [This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  11. Cogan, John F. & Cwik, Tobias & Taylor, John B. & Wieland, Volker, 2009. "New Keynesian versus old Keynesian government spending multipliers," Working Paper Series 1090, European Central Bank.
  12. Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2009. "How Large Are the Effects of Tax Changes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7439, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Roberto Perotti, 2005. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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