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Fiscal Multipliers Over the Business Cycle

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  • Michaillat, Pascal

Abstract

This paper develops a theory characterizing the effects of fiscal policy on unemployment over the business cycle. The theory is based on a model of equilibrium unemployment in which jobs are rationed in recessions. Fiscal policy in the form of government spending on public-sector jobs reduces unemployment, especially during recessions: the fiscal multiplier---the reduction in unemployment rate achieved by spending one dollar on public-sector jobs---is positive and countercyclical. Although the labor market always sees vast flows of workers and a great deal of matching, recessions are periods of acute job shortage without much competition for workers among recruiting firms. Hence hiring in the public sector reduces unemployment effectively because it does not crowd out hiring in the private sector much. An implication is that empirical studies should control for the state of the economy when fiscal policies are implemented to estimate accurately the amplitude of fiscal multipliers in recessions.

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  • Michaillat, Pascal, 2011. "Fiscal Multipliers Over the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8610, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8610
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    Cited by:

    1. Christophe Blot & Marion Cochard & Jérôme Creel & Bruno Ducoudré & Danielle Schweisguth & Xavier Timbeau, 2014. "Fiscal Consolidation, Public Debt and Output Dynamics in the Euro Area: lessons from a simple model with time-varying fiscal multipliers," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 124(6), pages 953-989.
    2. Eduardo Garzón Espinosa & Bibiana Medialdea García & Esteban Cruz Hidalgo, 2021. "Fiscal Policy Approaches: An Inquiring Look From The Modern Monetary Theory," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(4), pages 999-1022, October.
    3. Christophe Blot & Marion Cochard & Jérôme Creel & Bruno Ducoudré & Danielle Schweisguth & Xavier Timbeau, 2014. "Fiscal consolidation in times of crisis: is the sooner really the better?," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 159-192.
    4. Pascal Michaillat, 2012. "Do Matching Frictions Explain Unemployment? Not in Bad Times," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1721-1750, June.
    5. W. Qazizada & E. Stockhammer, 2015. "Government spending multipliers in contraction and expansion," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 238-258, March.
    6. Charles J. Whalen & Felix Reichling, 2015. "The Fiscal Multiplier And Economic Policy Analysis In The United States," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(4), pages 735-746, October.
    7. Felix Reichling & Charles Whalen, 2012. "Assessing the Short-Term Effects on Output of Changes in Federal Fiscal Policies: Working Paper 2012-08," Working Papers 43278, Congressional Budget Office.
    8. Andrea Tafuro, 2015. "The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Employment: an Analysis of the Aggregate Evidence," Working Papers 2015: 03, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    9. Felix Reichling & Charles Whalen, 2015. "The Fiscal Multiplier and Economic Policy Analysis in the United States: Working Paper 2015-02," Working Papers 49925, Congressional Budget Office.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycle; fiscal multiplier; job rationing; matching frictions; unemployment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • 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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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