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Fiscal spending multipliers: evidence from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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  • Daniel J. Wilson

Abstract

This paper estimates the “jobs multiplier” of fiscal spending using the state-level allocations of federal stimulus funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Specifically, I estimate the relationship between state-level federal ARRA spending and state employment outcomes from the time the Act was passed (February 2009) through the latest month of data (currently May 2010). Because actual state allocations of stimulus spending may be endogenous with respect to state economic outcomes, I instrument for stimulus spending using the state allocations that were anticipated immediately after the ARRA was passed, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Center for American Progress. To control for the counterfactual – what would have happened without the stimulus – I include several variables likely to be strong predictors of state employment growth. The results point to substantial heterogeneity in the impact of ARRA spending over time, across sectors, and across types of spending. The estimated jobs multiplier for total nonfarm employment is large and statistically significant for ARRA spending through March 2010, but falls considerably and becomes insignificant in April and May. The implied number of jobs created or saved by the spending is about 2.0 million as of March, but drops to 0.8 million as of May. Across sectors, the estimated impact of ARRA spending on construction employment is especially large, implying a 18.4% increase in employment (as of May 2010) relative to what it would have been without the ARRA. Lastly, I find that spending on infrastructure and other general purposes has a large positive impact, while spending on safety-net programs such as unemployment insurance and Medicaid reduces employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Wilson, 2010. "Fiscal spending multipliers: evidence from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," Working Paper Series 2010-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2010-17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Woodford, 2011. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
    2. Monacelli, Tommaso & Perotti, Roberto & Trigari, Antonella, 2010. "Unemployment fiscal multipliers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 531-553, July.
    3. Cogan, John F. & Cwik, Tobias & Taylor, John B. & Wieland, Volker, 2010. "New Keynesian versus old Keynesian government spending multipliers," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 281-295, March.
    4. Giancarlo Corsetti & André Meier & Gernot J. Müller, 2012. "Fiscal Stimulus with Spending Reversals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 878-895, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Valerie A. Ramey, 2012. "Government Spending and Private Activity," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 19-55 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Laura Feiveson & Zachary Liscow & William Gui Woolston, 2012. "Does State Fiscal Relief during Recessions Increase Employment? Evidence from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 118-145, August.
    3. Dupor, Bill & Mehkari, M. Saif, 2016. "The 2009 Recovery Act: Stimulus at the extensive and intensive labor margins," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 208-228.
    4. Sylvain Leduc & Daniel Wilson, 2013. "Roads to Prosperity or Bridges to Nowhere? Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Public Infrastructure Investment," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 89-142.
    5. Byron Gangnes, 2010. "The Employment Effects of Fiscal Policy: How Costly are ARRA Jobs?," Working Papers 2010-16, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    6. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2012. "The Effects of Fiscal Stimulus: Evidence from the 2009 Cash for Clunkers Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1107-1142.
    7. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 63-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Emi Nakamura & J?n Steinsson, 2014. "Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from US Regions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 753-792, March.
    9. Ricco, Giovanni & Ellahie, Atif, 2012. "Government Spending Reloaded: Fundamentalness and Heterogeneity in Fiscal SVARs," MPRA Paper 42105, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Dupor, Bill & Li, Rong, 2015. "The expected inflation channel of government spending in the postwar U.S," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 36-56.
    11. Dupor, William D. & McCrory, Peter B., 2014. "A Cup Runneth Over: Fiscal Policy Spillovers from the 2009 Recovery Act," Working Papers 2014-29, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 01 Apr 2016.
    12. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote, 2011. "Did the Stimulus Stimulate? Real Time Estimates of the Effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," NBER Working Papers 16759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Lee, Yu Na & Chau, Nancy & Just, David, 2014. "The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program for Farmers in the U.S.: Role of Incentives in Program Participation," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 176205, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Sylvain Leduc & Daniel J. Wilson, 2012. "Should transportation spending be included in a stimulus program? a review of the literature," Working Paper Series 2012-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    15. Conley, Timothy G. & Dupor, Bill, 2013. "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Solely a government jobs program?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 535-549.
    16. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 673-685, September.
    17. Daniel J. Wilson, 2012. "Government spending: an economic boost?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue feb6.

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    Keywords

    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ; Fiscal policy - United States ; Employment;

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