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Assessing the effects of fiscal shocks

  • Craig Burnside
  • Martin Eichenbaum
  • Jonas D.M. Fisher

This paper investigates the response of real wages and hours worked to an exogenous shock in fiscal policy. We identify this shock with the dynamic response of government purchases and tax rates to an exogenous increase in military purchases. The fiscal shocks that we isolate are characterized by highly correlated increases in government purchases, tax rates and hours worked as well as persistent declines in real wages. We assess the ability of standard Real business Cycle models to account for these facts. They can-but only under the assumption that marginal income tax rates are constant, a standard assumption in the literature. Once we abandon this counterfactual assumption, RBC models cannot account for the facts. We argue that our empirical findings pose a challenge to a wide class of business cycle models.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-99-18.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-99-18
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  1. Wendy Edelberg & Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 1999. "Understanding the Effects of a Shock to Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 166-206, January.
  2. Barro, Robert J & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 419-52, October.
  3. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1992. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1153-1207, December.
  4. David Card, 1991. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," NBER Working Papers 3602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  6. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1997. "Sticky price and limited participation models of money: A comparison," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1201-1249, June.
  7. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  8. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148 Elsevier.
  9. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 1999. "Fiscal shocks in an efficiency wage model," Working Paper Series WP-99-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Modeling money," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano, 1998. "Solving Dynamic Equilibrium Models by a Method of Undetermined Coefficients," NBER Technical Working Papers 0225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum, 1994. "Factor Hoarding and the Propagation of Business Cycles Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1990. "Labor Hoarding and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 3556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ohanian, Lee E, 1997. "The Macroeconomic Effects of War Finance in the United States: World War II and the Korean War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 23-40, March.
  15. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  16. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  18. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
  19. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  20. Ramey, Valerie A. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1998. "Costly capital reallocation and the effects of government spending," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 145-194, June.
  21. Devereux, Michael B & Head, Allen C & Lapham, Beverly J, 1996. "Monopolistic Competition, Increasing Returns, and the Effects of Government Spending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 233-54, May.
  22. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  23. Eichenbaum, Martin S & Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1988. "A Time Series Analysis of Representative Agent Models of Consumption and Leisure Choice under Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 51-78, February.
  24. Alexopoulos, Michelle, 2004. "Unemployment and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 277-298, March.
  25. Seater, John J., 1985. "On the construction of marginal federal personal and social security tax rates in the U.S," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 121-135, January.
  26. Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Pecuniary Incentives to Work in the United States during World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 1033-1077, October.
  27. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  28. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Stephenson, E. Frank, 1998. "Average marginal tax rates revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 389-409, April.
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