IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The output effect of fiscal consolidations

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Carlo Ambrogio Favero
  • Francesco Giavazzi

This paper studies whether fiscal corrections cause large output losses. We find that it matters crucially how the fiscal correction occurs. Adjustments based upon spending cuts are much less costly in terms of output losses than tax-based ones. Spending-based adjustments have been associated with mild and short-lived recessions, in many cases with no recession at all. Tax-based adjustments have been associated with prolonged and deep recessions. The difference cannot be explained by different monetary policies during the two types of adjustments. Studying the effects of multi-year fiscal plans rather than individual shifts in fiscal variables we make progress on question of anticipated versus unanticipated policy shifts: we find that the correlation between unanticipated and anticipated shifts in taxes and spending is heterogenous across countries, suggesting that the degree of persistence of fiscal corrections varies..Estimating the effects of fiscal lans, rather than individual fiscal shocks, we obtain much more precise estimates of tax and spending multipliers. Keywords: fiscal adjustment, output, confidence, investment JEL Classification: H60, E62

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 450.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:450
Contact details of provider: Postal:
via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)

Phone: 0039-02-58363301
Fax: 0039-02-58363302
Web page:

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Eric M. Leeper, 2010. "Monetary science, fiscal alchemy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 361-434.
  2. Daniel Leigh & Andrea Pescatori & Jaime Guajardo, 2011. "Expansionary Austerity New International Evidence," IMF Working Papers 11/158, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148 Elsevier.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 921-39, December.
  5. Morten O. Ravn & Karel Mertens, 2009. "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy shocks," 2009 Meeting Papers 480, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1994. "VAR analysis, nonfundamental representations, blaschke matrices," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 307-325, July.
  8. Nick Bloom & Stephen Bond & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Uncertainty and Investment Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0739, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2012. "The Household Effects of Government Spending," CEP Discussion Papers dp1120, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 673-85, September.
  11. Rudebusch, G.D., 1996. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense?," Papers 269, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  12. Nicholas Bloom & Max Floetotto & Nir Jaimovich & Itay Saporta-Eksten & Stephen J. Terry, 2012. "Really Uncertain Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 18245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Garratt, Anthony & Lee, Kevin & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2012. "Global and National Macroeconometric Modelling: A Long-Run Structural Approach," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199650460, December.
  14. Nicholas Bloom, 2007. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael T. Owyang & Valerie A. Ramey & Sarah Zubairy, 2013. "Are Government Spending Multipliers Greater During Periods of Slack? Evidence from 20th Century Historical Data," NBER Working Papers 18769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytics and Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 14028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gernot Müller & Giancarlo Corsetti & Andre Meier, 2009. "Fiscal Stimulus with Spending Reversals," IMF Working Papers 09/106, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2010. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper 2010-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  19. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 2009. "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 23," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote08-3, September.
  20. Karel Mertens & Morten Overgaard Ravn, 2010. "Online Appendix to "Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated Tax Policy Shocks"," Technical Appendices 09-221, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  21. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  22. Lambertini, Luisa & Tavares, Jose, 2002. "Exchange Rates and Fiscal Adjustments: Evidence from the OECD and Implications for EMU," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp412, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
  23. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 2012. "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 233-297.
  24. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense? A Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 943-48, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:450. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.