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How does government spending stimulate consumption?

  • Daniel P. Murphy

Recent empirical work finds that government spending shocks cause aggregate consumption to increase over the business cycle, contrary to the predictions of Neoclassical and New Keynesian models. This paper proposes a mechanism to account for the consumption increase that builds on the framework of imperfect information in Lucas (1972) and Lorenzoni (2009). In my model, owners of firms targeted by an increase in government spending perceive an increase in their permanent income relative to their future tax liabilities. Owners of firms not targeted remain unaware of the implicit increase in future tax liabilities, causing aggregate consumption to increase. A testable implication of the proposed model is that the value of firms should increase, implying all else equal an increase in aggregate stock returns. This prediction of the model is shown to be consistent with empirical evidence.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper with number 157.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:157
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  1. Bachmann, Rüdiger & Sims, Eric R., 2012. "Confidence and the transmission of government spending shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 235-249.
  2. Woodford, Michael, 2010. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," CEPR Discussion Papers 7704, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. GONÇALVES, Silvia & KILIAN, Lutz, 2003. "Bootstrapping Autoregressions with Conditional Heteroskedasticity of Unknown Form," Cahiers de recherche 2003-01, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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  15. Barbara Rossi & Sarah Zubairy, 2011. "What Is the Importance of Monetary and Fiscal Shocks in Explaining U.S. Macroeconomic Fluctuations?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(6), pages 1247-1270, 09.
  16. Robert Barro, 2011. "Macroeconomic Effects from Government Purchases and Taxes," Annual Meeting Plenary 2011-1, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
  18. Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Industry Evidence on the Effects of Government Spending," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 36-59, January.
  19. JonasD.M. Fisher & Ryan Peters, 2010. "Using Stock Returns to Identify Government Spending Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 414-436, 05.
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