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Government Size and Output Volatility; Should We Forsake Automatic Stabilization?

Listed author(s):
  • Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Xavier Debrun
  • André Sapir

The paper takes stock of the debate on the positive link between output volatility and the size of government-which reflects automatic stabilizers. After a survey of the literature, we show that the contribution of automatic stabilizers to output stability may have disappeared since the 1990s. However, econometric analysis suggests that the breakdown in the government size-volatility relationship largely reflects temporary developments (better monetary management and financial intermediation). Once these factors are taken into account, the stabilizing role of government size remains important although little extra stability can be gained by expanding public expenditure beyond 40 percent of GDP.

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File URL: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=21947
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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 08/122.

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Length: 53
Date of creation: 01 May 2008
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/122
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  1. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Rafael Domenech & Javier Andres & Antonio Fatas, 2006. "The Stabilizing Role of Government Size," Working Papers 0603, International Economics Institute, University of Valencia, revised Jan 2007.
  3. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
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  6. Ayhan Kose & Eswar S Prasad & Kenneth Rogoff & Shang-Jin Wei, 2006. "Financial Globalization; A Reappraisal," IMF Working Papers 06/189, .
  7. Christina D. Romer, 1999. "Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
  8. Tanzi,Vito & Schuknecht,Ludger, 2000. "Public Spending in the 20th Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521664103, December.
  9. Chris Otrok, 1999. "On Measuring the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Virginia Economics Online Papers 318, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  10. Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Khalid Sekkat, 2005. "Progressive Taxation, Macroeconomic Stabilization and efficiency in Europe," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 233, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
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  16. de la Fuente, Angel, 1997. "Fiscal Policy and Growth in the OECD," CEPR Discussion Papers 1755, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  18. Khalid Sekkat & Marco Buti & Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Paul van den Noord, 2003. "Automatic fiscal stabilisers in EMU: a conflict between efficiency and stabilization?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7354, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. Julia Darby & Jacques Melitz, 2008. "Social spending and automatic stabilizers in the OECD," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 715-756, October.
  20. Afonso, António & Ebert, Werner & Schuknecht, Ludger & Thöne, Michael, 2005. "Quality of public finances and growth," Working Paper Series 0438, European Central Bank.
  21. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "Government size and automatic stabilizers: international and intranational evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 3-28, October.
  22. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
  23. Jordi Galí & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
  24. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
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