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Assessing the Impact and Phasing of Multi-year Fiscal Adjustment; A General Framework


  • Ran Bi
  • Haonan Qu
  • James Roaf


This paper provides a general framework to assess the output and debt dynamics of an economy undertaking multi-year fiscal adjustment. The framework allows country-specific assumptions about the magnitude and persistence of fiscal multipliers, hysteresis effects, and endogenous financing costs. In addition to informing macro projections, the framework can also shed light on the appropriate phasing of fiscal consolidation—in particular, on whether it should be front- or back-loaded. The framework is applied to stylized advanced and emerging economy examples. It suggests that for a highly-indebted economy undertaking large multi-year fiscal consolidation, high multipliers do not always argue against frontloaded adjustment. The case for more gradual or back-loaded adjustment is strongest when hysteresis effects are in play, but it needs to be balanced against implications for debt sustainability. Application to actual country examples tends to cast doubt on claims that very large multipliers have been operating post-crisis. It seems that the GDP forecast errors for Greece may have been due more to over-optimism on potential growth estimates than to underestimating fiscal multipliers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ran Bi & Haonan Qu & James Roaf, 2013. "Assessing the Impact and Phasing of Multi-year Fiscal Adjustment; A General Framework," IMF Working Papers 13/182, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/182

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    1. repec:nbr:nberch:13342 is not listed on IDEAS
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    6. Pier Carlo Padoan & Urban Sila & Paul van den Noord, 2012. "Avoiding debt traps: Fiscal consolidation, financial backstops and structural reforms," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2012(1), pages 151-177.
    7. 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.
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    9. Ilzetzki, Ethan & Mendoza, Enrique G. & Végh, Carlos A., 2013. "How big (small?) are fiscal multipliers?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 239-254.
    10. Michael Woodford, 2011. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Bertola & John Driffill & Harold James & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Ákos Valentinyi, 2014. "Chapter 3: Austerity: Hurting but Helping," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 75-90, February.
    2. Łukasz Rawdanowicz, 2014. "Choosing the pace of fiscal consolidation," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2013(1), pages 91-119.
    3. Yannis M. Ioannides & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2015. "Is the Greek Crisis One of Supply and Demand?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(2 (Fall)), pages 349-373.
    4. Luc Eyraud & Tao Wu, 2015. "Playing by the Rules; Reforming Fiscal Governance in Europe," IMF Working Papers 15/67, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Fritz Breuss, 2017. "The United States-Euro Area Growth Gap Puzzle," WIFO Working Papers 541, WIFO.
    6. Kevin Fletcher & Damiano Sandri, 2015. "How Delaying Fiscal Consolidation Affects the Present Value of GDP," IMF Working Papers 15/52, International Monetary Fund.


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