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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. 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.
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  15. 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).
  16. Günter Coenen & Roland Straub, 2005. "Does Government Spending Crowd in Private Consumption? Theory and Empirical Evidence for the Euro Area," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 435-470, December.
  17. Evi Pappa, 2005. "New Keynesian or RBC Transmission? The Effects of Fiscal Policy in Labor Markets," Working Papers 293, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  18. Roberto Perotti, 2004. "Public investment: another (different) look," Working Papers 277, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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