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Expectations and Fiscal Policy: An Empirical Investigation

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  • Roberto perotti

Abstract

With fiscal foresight, the shocks identified by standard Vector Autoregression (SVAR) techniques can be non-fundamental for the variables of interest. In an important paper, Ramey (2011) uses direct measures of the private sector’s forecast revisions of defense or federal spending to estimate the effects of government spending shocks in a VAR, obtaining the "expectations - augmented" VAR, or EVAR. The response of GDP to these shocks is smaller than 1, and consumption and the real wage fall: this is consistent with the neoclassical model, but the opposite of recent results from SVARs. In this paper, I make three points. First, EVARs and SVARs give virtually the same results. Ramey reaches the opposite conclusion because she never estimates the two specifications on the same sample and with the same government spending variable. Second, the evidence from EVARs is not robust. It is enough to dummy out just two quarters during WWII (when rationing was introduced) or during the Korean War (when new Fed regulation di couraging the purchase of durables was introduced) for the negative effects of defense spending shocks to disappear. Third, the forecast revision of federal spending from the Survey of Professional Forecasters has high explanatory power for government spending, but for the "wrong" reason: the predictive power of expected government spending growth is extremely low, so that the forecast error is effectively actual spending growth less noise.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto perotti, 2011. "Expectations and Fiscal Policy: An Empirical Investigation," Working Papers 429, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:429
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    1. repec:nbr:nberch:13342 is not listed on IDEAS
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    8. Ryan Chahrour & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2012. "A Model-Based Evaluation of the Debate on the Size of the Tax Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 28-45, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jooste, Charl & Liu, Guangling (Dave) & Naraidoo, Ruthira, 2013. "Analysing the effects of fiscal policy shocks in the South African economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 215-224.
    2. Sohrab Rafiq, 2013. "The Growth and Stabilization Properties of Fiscal Policy in Malaysia," IMF Working Papers 13/149, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Eric M. Leeper & Alexander W. Richter & Todd B. Walker, 2012. "Quantitative Effects of Fiscal Foresight," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 115-144, May.
    4. Jia, Bijie & Kim, Hyeongwoo, 2015. "Government Spending Shocks and Private Activity: The Role of Sentiments," MPRA Paper 66263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ramey, V.A., 2016. "Macroeconomic Shocks and Their Propagation," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    6. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C, 2012. "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy: Was There a ‘Free Lunch’ in 1930s’ Britain?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 106, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    7. Cléaud, G. & Lemoine, M. & Pionnier, P.-A., 2013. "Which size and evolution of the government expenditure multiplier in France (1980-2010)?," Working papers 469, Banque de France.
    8. Kenza Benhima & Céline Poilly, 2017. "Do Misperceptions about Demand Matter? Theory and Evidence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 17.08, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    9. Cavallari, Lilia & Romano, Simone, 2017. "Fiscal policy in Europe: The importance of making it predictable," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 81-97.
    10. Luca Gambetti, 2012. "Fiscal Foresight, Forecast Revisions and the Effects of Government Spending in the Open Economy," Working Papers 644, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    11. Alberto Locarno & Alessandro Notarpietro & Massimiliano Pisani, 2013. "Sovereign risk, monetary policy and fiscal multipliers: a structural model-based assessment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 943, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    12. Virkola, Tuomo, 2014. "Exchange Rate Regime, Fiscal Foresight and the Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy in a Small Open Economy," ETLA Reports 20, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    13. Born, Benjamin & Juessen, Falko & Müller, Gernot J., 2013. "Exchange rate regimes and fiscal multipliers," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 446-465.
    14. Ellahie, Atif & Ricco, Giovanni, 2017. "Government purchases reloaded: Informational insufficiency and heterogeneity in fiscal VARs," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 13-27.
    15. Ricco, Giovanni & Ellahie, Atif, 2012. "Government Spending Reloaded: Fundamentalness and Heterogeneity in Fiscal SVARs," MPRA Paper 42105, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Ricco, Giovanni & Callegari, Giovanni & Cimadomo, Jacopo, 2014. "Signals from the Government: Policy Uncertainty and the Transmission of Fiscal Shocks," MPRA Paper 56136, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Luigi Marattin & Simone Salotti, 2014. "Consumption multipliers of different types of public spending: a structural vector error correction analysis for the UK," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1197-1220, June.
    18. de Walque, Gregory & Lundvall, Henrik & Papageorgiou, Dimitris & Rysanek, Jakub & Kulikov, Dmitry & Júlio, Paulo & Lozej, Matija & Sideris, Dimitris & Maria, José R. & Micallef, Brian & Schmidt, Sebas, 2015. "Comparing fiscal multipliers across models and countries in Europe," Working Paper Series 1760, European Central Bank.

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