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Identifying the Effects of Government Spending Shocks with and without Expected Reversal: an Approach Based on U.S. Real-Time Data

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Abstract

This paper investigates how expectations about future government spending affect the transmission of fiscal policy shocks. We study the effects of two different types of government spending shocks in the United States: (i) spending shocks that are accompanied by an expected reversal of public spending growth below trend; (ii) spending shocks that are accompanied by expectations of future spending growth above trend. We use the Ramey (2011)’s time series of military build-ups to measure exogenous spending shocks, and deviations of forecasts of public spending with respect to past trends, evaluated in real-time, to distinguish shocks into these two categories. Based on a structural VAR analysis, our results suggest that shocks associated with an expected spending reversal exert expansionary effects on the economy and accelerate the correction of the initial increase in public debt. Shocks associated with expected spending growth above trend, instead, are characterized by a contraction in aggregate demand and a more persistent increase in public debt. The main channel of transmission seems to run through agents’ perception of the future macroeconomic environment.

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  • Jacopo Cimadomo & Sebastian Hauptmeier & Sergio Sola, 2011. "Identifying the Effects of Government Spending Shocks with and without Expected Reversal: an Approach Based on U.S. Real-Time Data," IHEID Working Papers 12-2011, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp12-2011
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Government spending shocks; Survey of Professional Forecasters; Real-time data; Spending reversal; Fiscal multipliers.;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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