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Fiscal consolidation in the euro area: long-run benefits and short-run costs

  • Coenen, Günter
  • Mohr, Matthias
  • Straub, Roland

In this paper, we examine the macroeconomic effects of alternative fiscal consolidation policies in the New Area-Wide Model (NAWM), a two-country open-economy model of the euro area developed at the European Central Bank (cf. Coenen et al., 2007). We model fiscal consolidation as a permanent reduction in the targeted government debt-to-output ratio and analyse both expenditure and revenue-based policies that are implemented by means of simple fiscal feedback rules. We find that fiscal consolidation has positive long-run effects on key macroeconomic aggregates such as output and consumption, notably when the resulting improvement in the budgetary position is used to lower distortionary taxes. At the same time, fiscal consolidation gives rise to noticeable short-run adjustment costs in contrast to what the literature on expansionary fiscal consolidations suggests. Moreover, depending on the fiscal instrument used, fiscal consolidation may have pronounced distributional effects. JEL Classification: E32, E62

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0902.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20080902
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  1. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions Be Expansionary? Tales of two Small Euopean Countries," Working Papers 89, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. Jordi Galí & J. David López-Salido & Javier Vallés, 2007. "Understanding the Effects of Government Spending on Consumption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 227-270, 03.
  3. Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Fiscal Policy In Good Times And Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1399-1436, November.
  4. Straub, Roland & Tchakarov, Ivan, 2007. "Assessing the impact of a change in the composition of public spending: a DSGE approach," Working Paper Series 0795, European Central Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. Tamim Bayoumi & Douglas Laxton & Paolo Pesenti, 2004. "Benefits and spillovers of greater competition in Europe: a macroeconomic assessment," Staff Reports 182, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Ardagna, Silvia & Caselli, Francesco & Lane, Timothy, 2004. "Fiscal Discipline and the Cost of Public Debt Service: Some Estimates for OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 4661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2006. "SIGMA: A New Open Economy Model for Policy Analysis," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(1), March.
  9. Noriaki Kinoshita, 2006. "Government Debt and Long-Term Interest Rates," IMF Working Papers 06/63, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Ardagna, Silvia & Alesina, Alberto, 1998. "Tales of Fiscal Adjustment," Scholarly Articles 2579822, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Richard Morris & Hedwig Ongena & Ludger Schuknecht, 2006. "The reform and implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact," Occasional Paper Series 47, European Central Bank.
  12. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 1998. "Tales of fiscal adjustment," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(27), pages 487-545, October.
  13. Hamid Faruqee & Douglas Laxton & Dirk Muir & Paolo Pesenti, 2005. "Smooth Landing or Crash? Model-Based Scenarios of Global Current Account Rebalancing," NBER Working Papers 11583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Thomas Laubach, 2003. "New evidence on the interest rate effects of budget deficits and debt," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. 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.
  16. Ardagna, Silvia, 2004. "Fiscal Stabilizations: When Do They Work and Why," Scholarly Articles 2580047, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Doris Prammer, 2004. "Expansionary Fiscal Consolidations? An Appraisal of the Literature on Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy and a Case Study for Austria," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 34–52.
  18. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 1284, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 210-248, June.
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