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The Heterogeneous Effects of Government Spending : It’s All About Taxes

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Abstract

This paper investigates how government spending multipliers depend on the distribution of taxes across households. We exploit historical variations in the financing of spending in the U.S. since 1913 to show that multipliers are positive only when financed with more progressive taxes, and zero otherwise. We rationalize this finding within a heterogeneous-household model with indivisible labor supply. The model results in a lower labor responsiveness to tax changes for higher-income earners. In turn, spending financed with more progressive taxes induces a smaller crowding-out, and thus larger multipliers. Finally, we provide evidence in support of the model?s cross-sectional implications.

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  • Axelle Ferrière & Gaston Navarro, 2018. "The Heterogeneous Effects of Government Spending : It’s All About Taxes," International Finance Discussion Papers 1237, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1237
    DOI: 10.17016/IFDP.2018.1237
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    Keywords

    Fiscal stimulus; Government spending; Transfers; Heterogeneous agents;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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