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How to make discretionary fiscal policy countercyclical


  • Pedro Leão


In most countries, discretionary fiscal policy has often been pro-cyclical: instead of dampening the business cycle, actual discretionary policy has mostly magnified it. This paper proposes a mechanism that allows discretionary fiscal policy to be counter-cyclical. This involves the creation of a Budget Agency which carries out expenditures that, in addition to increasing its debt, also raise its saleable assets - and, therefore, do not reduce the net value of its balance-sheet. One example is the construction, during a downswing, of housing and office buildings that will be sold in the subsequent upswing. Besides real estate investment, the Budget Agency may also undertake “balance-sheet neutral” expenditures in two other sectors responsible for the bulk of business cycle fluctuations: business investment and durable consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Leão, 2012. "How to make discretionary fiscal policy countercyclical," Working Papers Department of Economics 2012/02, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp022012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2010. "The Euro and Fiscal Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Europe and the Euro, pages 287-324 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mark Hallerberg & Rolf Strauch, 2002. "On the Cyclicality of Public Finances in Europe," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 183-207, September.
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    More about this item


    stabilization; discretionary fiscal policy; business cycle.;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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