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Learning about fiscal policy and the effects of policy uncertainty

  • Josef Hollmayr
  • Christian Matthes

The recent crisis in the United States has often been associated with substantial amounts of policy uncertainty. In this paper we ask how uncertainty about fiscal policy affects the impact of fiscal policy changes on the economy when the government tries to counteract a deep recession. The agents in our model act as econometricians by estimating the policy rules for the different fiscal policy instruments, which include distortionary tax rates. ; Comparing the outcomes in our model to those under full-information rational expectations, we find that assuming the agents are not instantaneously aware of the new fiscal policy regime (or policy rule) in place leads to substantially more volatility in the short run and persistent differences in average outcomes

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 13-15.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:13-15
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  1. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2012. "Has Economic Policy Uncertainty Hampered the Recovery?," Book Chapters, in: Lee E. Ohanian & John B. Taylor & Ian J. Wright (ed.), Government Policies and the Delayed Economic Recovery, chapter 3 Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
  2. Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2006. "Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Eusepi, Stefano & Preston, Bruce, 2011. "Learning the fiscal theory of the price level: Some consequences of debt-management policy," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 358-379.
  4. 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.
  5. Mitra, Kaushik & Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2012. "Fiscal Policy and Learning," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-10, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  6. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker, 2010. ""Unfunded liabilities" and uncertain fiscal financing," Research Working Paper RWP 10-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  7. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo A. Guerrón-Quintana & Keith Kuester & Juan Rubio-Ramírez, 2011. "Fiscal Volatility Shocks and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 17317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Timothy Cogley & Christian Matthes & Argia M. Sbordone, 2011. "Optimal disinflation under learning," Staff Reports 524, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Chryssi Giannitsarou, 2004. "Supply-side reforms and learning dynamics," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 36, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  10. Born, Benjamin & Pfeifer, Johannes, 2014. "Policy risk and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 68-85.
  11. Leeper, Eric M. & Plante, Michael & Traum, Nora, 2010. "Dynamics of fiscal financing in the United States," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(2), pages 304-321, June.
  12. Gary Koop & Roberto Leon-Gonzalez & Rodney W. Strachan, 2008. "On the Evolution of Monetary Policy," Working Paper Series 24-08, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jan 2008.
  13. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  14. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  15. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Working Papers 050608, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  16. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "Drifts and volatilities: monetary policies and outcomes in the post WWII U.S," Working Paper 2003-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  17. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  18. Karantounias, Anastasios G., 2013. "Managing pessimistic expectations and fiscal policy," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(1), January.
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