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Learning about fiscal multipliers during the European sovereign debt crisis: evidence from a quasi-natural experiment


  • Gόrnicka, Lucyna
  • Kamps, Christophe
  • Koester, Gerrit
  • Leiner-Killinger, Nadine


Identifying fiscal multipliers is usually constrained by the absence of a counterfactual scenario. Our new data set allows overcoming this problem by making use of the fact that recommendations under the EU’s excessive deficit procedure (EDP) provide both a baseline no-policy-change scenario and a fiscal-adjustment EDP scenario that entails a forecast of the macroeconomic impact of fiscal consolidation over the EDP horizon. For a sample of 24 EU countries to which 48 EDP recommendations were applied between 2009 and 2015, we derive country-specific fiscal multipliers as actually applied by forecasters during the crisis. Our results confirm Blanchard and Leigh’s (2013, 2014) presumption that forecasters learned during the crisis. According to our findings, fiscal multipliers as applied by the European Commission increased over time – from about 1/4 in the early years of the crisis to about 2/3 in the later years. However, different from Blanchard and Leigh (2013, 2014), we do not find evidence for the hypothesis that ex-post fiscal multipliers have been substantially above 1 during the crisis. JEL Classification: E32, E62, H20, H5

Suggested Citation

  • Gόrnicka, Lucyna & Kamps, Christophe & Koester, Gerrit & Leiner-Killinger, Nadine, 2018. "Learning about fiscal multipliers during the European sovereign debt crisis: evidence from a quasi-natural experiment," Working Paper Series 2154, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20182154
    Note: 491621

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2010. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 35-68, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & Favero, Carlo & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2015. "The output effect of fiscal consolidation plans," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 19-42.
    4. Sebastian Gechert & Henner Will, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers: A Meta Regression Analysis," IMK Working Paper 97-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    5. Anja Baum & Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro & Anke Weber, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers and the State of the Economy," IMF Working Papers 12/286, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Gilles Mourre & George-Marian Isbasoiu & Dario Paternoster & Matteo Salto, 2013. "The cyclically-adjusted budget balance used in the EU fiscal framework: an update," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 478, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
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    Cited by:

    1. Favero, Carlo A. & Mei, Pierfrancesco, 2019. "Austerity and Public debt Dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 14072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    business cycle; fiscal consolidation; fiscal multipliers;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies

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