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On the Size of Fiscal Multipliers: A Counterfactual Analysis

  • Jan Kuckuck


    (Universitaet Osnabrueck)

  • Frank Westermann


    (Universitaet Osnabrueck)

The Structural Vector Auto-regression (SVAR) approach to estimating fiscal multipliers, following the seminal paper by Blanchard and Perotti (2002), has been widely applied in the literature. In our paper we discuss the interpretation of these estimates and suggest that they are more useful for forecasting purposes than for policy advice. Our key point is that policy instruments often react to each other. We analyze a data set from the US and document that these interactions are economically and statistically significant. Increases in spending have been financed by subsequent increases in taxes. Increases in taxes have been complemented by additional spending cuts in subsequent quarters. In a counterfactual analysis we report fiscal multipliers that abstract from these dynamic responses of policy instruments to each other.

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Paper provided by Institute of Empirical Economic Research in its series Working Papers with number 96.

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Length: 12
Date of creation: 28 Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iee:wpaper:wp0096
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  1. Ethan Ilzetzki & Enrique G. Mendoza & Carlos A. Végh Gramont, 2011. "How Big (Small?) are Fiscal Multipliers?," IMF Working Papers 11/52, International Monetary Fund.
  2. John F. Cogan & Tobias Cwik & John B. Taylor & Volker Wieland, 2009. "New Keynesian versus Old Keynesian Government Spending Multipliers," NBER Working Papers 14782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Harald Uhlig, 2010. "Some Fiscal Calculus," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 30-34, May.
  4. Ramey, Valerie, 1993. "How important is the credit channel in the transmission of monetary policy?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-45, December.
  5. Barro, Robert J, 1981. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1086-1121, December.
  6. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Monetary-Fiscal Policy Interactions and Fiscal Stimulus," NBER Working Papers 15133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  8. Olivier J. Blanchard & Daniel Leigh, 2013. "Growth Forecast Errors and Fiscal Multipliers," IMF Working Papers 13/1, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2010. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper No. 2010-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  10. Mountford, A.W. & Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S., 2002. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," Discussion Paper 2002-31, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. 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.
  12. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 673-85, September.
  13. Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi & Jacopo Perego, 2011. "Country Heterogeneity and the International Evidence on the Effects of Fiscal Policy," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 59(4), pages 652-682, November.
  14. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise If the Government Buys More Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 183-249.
  15. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "On Measuring the Effects of Fiscal Policy in Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  18. Roberto Perotti, 2005. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  19. Perotti, Roberto, 2005. "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 4842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
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