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Assessing the impact of a change in the composition of public spending: a DSGE approach

  • Straub, Roland
  • Tchakarov, Ivan

Despite intense calls for safeguarding public investment in Europe, public investment expenditure, when measured in relation to GDP, has steadily fallen in the last three decades, evoking fears that economic activity may be correspondingly negatively affected. At the same time, however, public consumption in the EU-12 countries has trended up. In this paper, we provide a macroeconomic assessment of the observed change in the composition of public spending in the euro area in a medium-scale two-country dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. First, we analyze the channels through which, both temporary and permanent public investment shocks generate larger fiscal multipliers than exogenous increases in public consumption. Furthermore, we quantify the negative impact of a change in fiscal stance, characterized by a permanent rise in public consumption and a permanent fall in public investment, keeping thereby the overall level of public spending constant. The key message of the paper is that calls for reversing the observed trend in the composition of public spending are well justifed. JEL Classification: F41, F42

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0795.

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Date of creation: Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20070795
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  1. Jordi GalÌ & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
  2. Jordi Galí & J. David López-Salido & Javier Vallés, 2002. "Understanding the effects of government spending on consumption," Economics Working Papers 911, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2005.
  3. Coenen, Günter & Straub, Roland, 2005. "Does government spending crowd in private consumption? Theory and empirical evidence for the euro area," Working Paper Series 0513, European Central Bank.
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  9. Florin O. Bilbiie & Roland Straub, 2004. "Fiscal Policy, Business Cycles and Labor-Market Fluctuations," MNB Working Papers 2004/6, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
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  12. Alessandro Turrini, 2004. "Public investment and the EU fiscal framework," European Economy - Economic Papers 202, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  13. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
  14. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  16. Coenen, Günter & McAdam, Peter & Straub, Roland, 2007. "Tax reform and labour-market performance in the euro area: a simulation-based analysis using the New Area-Wide Model," Working Paper Series 0747, European Central Bank.
  17. Valila, Timo & Mehrotra, Aaron, 2005. "Evolution And Determinants Of Public Investment In Europe," Economic and Financial Reports 2005/1, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
  18. David A. Aschauer, 1989. "Public investment and productivity growth in the Group of Seven," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Sep, pages 17-25.
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