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Fiscal Multipliers in the 21st Century

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  • Pedro Brinca
  • Hans Holter
  • Per Krusell
  • Laurence Malafry

Abstract

The recent experience of a Great Recession has brought the effectiveness of fiscal policy back into focus. Fiscal multipliers do, however, vary greatly over time and place. Running VARs for a large number of countries, we document a strong correlation between wealth inequality and the magnitude of fiscal multipliers. To explain this finding, we develop a life-cycle, overlapping generations economy with uninsurable labor market risk. We calibrate our model to match key characteristics of a number of OECD economies, including the distribution of wages and wealth, social security, taxes and debt and study the effects of changing policies and various forms of inequality on the fiscal multiplier. We find that the fiscal multiplier is highly sensitive to the fraction of the population who face binding credit constraints and also negatively related to the average wealth level in the economy. This explains the correlation between wealth inequality and fiscal multipliers.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Brinca & Hans Holter & Per Krusell & Laurence Malafry, 2014. "Fiscal Multipliers in the 21st Century," 2014 Papers pbr150, Job Market Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:jmp:jm2014:pbr150
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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