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Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier

  • Favero, Carlo A.
  • Giavazzi, Francesco

The currently available empirical evidence shows remarkable differences between various estimates of the effects on U.S. output of an exogenous shift in Federal tax liabilities. Shocks identified via the narrative method imply a multiplier of about three over an horizon of three years. Tax shocks identified in fiscal VAR models deliver a much smaller multiplier of about one. Is this heterogeneity real, or is it simply the result of different approaches to the identification of exogenous shifts in taxes? Or of different specifications of the empirical model used to estimate the tax multiplier? In this paper we reconcile this apparently contradictory evidence by showing that the large multiplier obtained via the narrative identification methods is generated by the choice of a limited information approach in their estimation and not by the different nature of the shocks. Using the shocks identified by a Narrative methods in a multivariate dynamic model delivers estimates of the tax multiplier very much in line with those obtained in the traditional fiscal VAR approach.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7769.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7769
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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2006. "Assessing Structural VARs," NBER Working Papers 12353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2007. "Assessing Structural VARs," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 1-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytics and Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 14028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bagliano, Fabio C. & Favero, Carlo A., 1999. "Information from financial markets and VAR measures of monetary policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 825-837, April.
  4. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O, 2008. "The Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6673, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas Fisher, 2003. "Fiscal Shocks and Their Consequences," NBER Working Papers 9772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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