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Measuring the Effects of Fiscal Policy

Author

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  • Hafedh Bouakez
  • Foued Chihi
  • Michel Normandin

Abstract

Measuring the effects of discretionary fiscal policy is both difficult and controversial, as some explicit or implicit identifying assumptions need to be made to isolate exogenous and unanticipated changes in taxes and government spending. Studies based on structural vector autoregressions typically achieve identification by restricting the contemporaneous interaction of fiscal and non-fiscal variables in a rather arbitrary way. In this paper, we relax those restrictions and identify fiscal policy shocks by exploiting the conditional heteroscedasticity of the structural disturbances. We use this methodology to evaluate the macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy shocks in the U.S. before and after 1979. Our results show substantive differences in the economy’s response to government spending and tax shocks across the two periods. Importantly, we find that increases in public spending are, in general, more effective than tax cuts in stimulating economic activity. A key contribution of this study is to provide a formal test of the identifying restrictions commonly used in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Hafedh Bouakez & Foued Chihi & Michel Normandin, 2010. "Measuring the Effects of Fiscal Policy," Cahiers de recherche 1016, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hafedh Bouakez & Michel Guillard & Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup, 2017. "Public Investment, Time to Build, and the Zero Lower Bound," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 23, pages 60-79, January.
    2. Lütkepohl, Helmut & Netšunajev, Aleksei, 2017. "Structural vector autoregressions with heteroskedasticity: A review of different volatility models," Econometrics and Statistics, Elsevier, vol. 1(C), pages 2-18.
    3. Fritsche, Jan Philipp & Klein, Mathias & Rieth, Malte, 2021. "Government spending multipliers in (un)certain times," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 203(C).
    4. Francisco Castro & Daniel Garrote, 2015. "The effects of fiscal shocks on the exchange rate in the EMU and differences with the USA," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 1341-1365, December.
    5. Rebei Nooman, 2021. "Evaluating Changes in the Transmission Mechanism of Government Spending Shocks," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 21(1), pages 253-280, January.
    6. Guay, Alain, 2021. "Identification of structural vector autoregressions through higher unconditional moments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 225(1), pages 27-46.
    7. Bouakez, Hafedh & Chihi, Foued & Normandin, Michel, 2014. "Fiscal policy and external adjustment: New evidence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-20.
    8. Kevin XD Huang & Nam T Vu, 2019. "Rare but Long-lasting Liquidity Traps and Fiscal Stimulus," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 19-00014, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    9. Hafedh Bouakez & Denis Larocque & Michel Normandin, 2018. "Separating the wheat from the chaff: A disaggregate analysis of the effects of public spending in the US," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 51(2), pages 361-390, May.
    10. Stefan Bruder, 2018. "Inference for structural impulse responses in SVAR-GARCH models," ECON - Working Papers 281, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    11. Ambler, Steve & Bouakez, Hafedh & Cardia, Emanuela, 2017. "Does the crowding-in effect of public spending on private consumption undermine neoclassical models?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 399-410.
    12. Alban Moura, 2016. "The Effects of Government Spending Endogeneity on Estimated Multipliers in the U.S," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 121-122, pages 359-384.
    13. Stefano Grassi & Marco Lorusso & Francesco Ravazzolo, 2021. "Adaptive Importance Sampling for DSGE Models," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS84, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    14. Sebastian Gechert & Ansgar Rannenberg, 2014. "Are Fiscal Multipliers Regime-Dependent? A Meta Regression Analysis," IMK Working Paper 139-2014, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    15. Groenewold, Nicolaas, 2018. "Australia saved from the financial crisis by policy or by exports?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 118-135.
    16. , Le Thanh Tung, 2021. "Fiscal Policy, Monetary Policy and Price Volatility: Evidence from an Emerging Economy," OSF Preprints 7u56v, Center for Open Science.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policy; Government spending; Taxes; Primary deficit; Structural vector auto-regression; Identification;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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