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The Reaction of Government Spending to the Business Cycle: Some International Evidence


  • Juan F. Guerra-Salas

    (Fordham University)


This paper studies how the spending side of fiscal policy reacts to the business cycle. I find that between 2000 and 2012, government spending is forward-looking in a number of countries—it reacts to forecasts of economic activity rather than to past economic realizations. I also study whether the response of government spending is countercyclical or procyclical. Spending responds countercyclically in countries such as the United States, Belgium, and Finland—when governments in these countries expect GDP to be below trend, they increase spending, and vice versa. In contrast, spending responds procyclically in places such as the United Kingdon, Argentina, and Ecuador—when governments in these countries expect GDP to be below trend, they decrease spending, and vice versa. The methodology I use exploits the fact that the government cannot forecast economic activity perfectly. The presence of shocks that cannot be forecast allows me to estimate reaction parameters under the framework of the Generalized Method of Moments.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan F. Guerra-Salas, 2014. "The Reaction of Government Spending to the Business Cycle: Some International Evidence," Fordham Economics Discussion Paper Series dp2014-02, Fordham University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:frd:wpaper:dp2014-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jordi Galí & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
    2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    3. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules Based on Real-Time Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 964-985, September.
    4. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice Some international evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1033-1067, June.
    5. Galí, Jordi & Perotti, Roberto, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 3933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. John B. Taylor, 2000. "Reassessing Discretionary Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 21-36, Summer.
    7. Michael Woodford, 2007. "The Case for Forecast Targeting as a Monetary Policy Strategy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 3-24, Fall.
    8. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2007. "Fluctuating Macro Policies and the Fiscal Theory," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 247-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Richard H. Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    10. Hansen, Lars Peter & Heaton, John & Yaron, Amir, 1996. "Finite-Sample Properties of Some Alternative GMM Estimators," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 262-280, July.
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    More about this item


    Government spending; business cycle; forward-looking fiscal policy; GMM.;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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