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It's politics, stupid!

Relying on a large sample of countries, this paper quantifies the effect of political constraints, as measured by legislative control by the incumbent government, on the size of fiscal stimulus packages that have been put in place as reaction to the Great Recession. The results suggest that on average, political constraints reduced the size of a country's fiscal stimulus packages by between 1.2 and 2.8 percentage points of GDP (depending on the stimulus measure used). This substantial effect is significant and robust to a number of alternative dependent variables and specifications. The results are thus in line with the widely held, but never tested, perception that political reality limits the de facto application of discretionary fiscal policy as reaction to negative economic shocks.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3929/ethz-a-010200330
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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 14-365.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2014
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:14-365
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