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Fiscal volatility shocks and economic activity

  • Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde
  • Pablo Guerron-Quintana
  • Keith Kuester
  • Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez

The authors study the effects of changes in uncertainty about future fiscal policy on aggregate economic activity. Fiscal deficits and public debt have risen sharply in the wake of the financial crisis. While these developments make fiscal consolidation inevitable, there is considerable uncertainty about the policy mix and timing of such budgetary adjustment. To evaluate the consequences of this increased uncertainty, the authors first estimate tax and spending processes for the U.S. that allow for time-varying volatility. They then feed these processes into an otherwise standard New Keynesian business cycle model calibrated to the U.S. economy. The authors find that fiscal volatility shocks have an adverse effect on economic activity that is comparable to the effects of a 25-basis-point innovation in the federal funds rate.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 11-32.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision: 05 Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-32
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