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Boosting Confidence: Is there a Role for Fiscal Policy?

This paper investigates the widely held view that expansionary fiscal policy can boost consumer and business confidence, which will stimulate private spending and sustain economic activity. We find evidence in favor of this conjecture, i.e., cuts in direct taxes generate a positive effect on consumer and business confidence, while the same applies in cases of higher non-wage government consumption. However, higher government wage bills and government investment reduce confidence, with the effect being more pronounced when the debt to GDP ratio is high, possibly because they entail a permanent increase in the size of the public sector, which would have to be financed by higher future taxes.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Macedonia in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 2011_03.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision: Mar 2011
Handle: RePEc:mcd:mcddps:2011_03
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.uom.gr/index.php?tmima=3

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  1. Tagkalakis, Athanasios, 2008. "The effects of fiscal policy on consumption in recessions and expansions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1486-1508, June.
  2. David B. Gordon & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Are Countercyclical Fiscal Policies Counterproductive?," NBER Working Papers 11869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John G. Matsusaka & Argia M. Sbordone, 1993. "Consumer confidence and economic fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 93-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Easaw, Joshy Z. & Garratt, Dean & Heravi, Saeed M., 2005. "Does consumer sentiment accurately forecast UK household consumption? Are there any comparisons to be made with the US?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 517-532, September.
  5. Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Anchoring Fiscal Expectations," Caepr Working Papers 2009-015, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  6. Philippe Aghion & David Hemous & Enisse Kharroubi, 2009. "Credit Constraints, Cyclical Fiscal Policy and Industry Growth," NBER Working Papers 15119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jason Bram & Sydney Ludvigson, 1997. "Does consumer confidence forecast household expenditure?: A sentiment index horse race," Research Paper 9708, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Jordi Galí & J. David López Salido & Javier Vallés, 2003. "Understanding the effects of government spending on consumption," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0321, Banco de Espa�a.
  9. Giorgio Bodo & Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2000. "Forecasting Industrial Production in the Euro Area," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 370, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  10. Bob McNabb & Karl Taylor, 2002. "Business Cycles and the Role of Confidence: Evidence from Europe," Discussion Papers in Economics 02/3, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  11. Mackiewicz, Michał, 2008. "Determinants of Cyclicality of Fiscal Surpluses in The OECD Countries," MPRA Paper 16034, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Consumer Confidence and Consumer Spending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 29-50, Spring.
  13. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1993. "What role does consumer sentiment play in the U.S. macroeconomy?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 32-44.
  14. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 921-39, December.
  15. Jordi GalÌ & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
  16. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2009. "Empirical evidence on the aggregate effects of anticipated and unanticipated US tax policy shocks," Working Paper Research 181, National Bank of Belgium.
  17. Mark Doms & Norman Morin, 2004. "Consumer sentiment, the economy, and the news media," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. E. Philip Howrey, 2001. "The Predictive Power of the Index of Consumer Sentiment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 175-216.
  19. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. BELTRAN, Helena & DURRE, Alain, 2003. "The determinants of consumer confidence: the case of United States and Belgium," CORE Discussion Papers 2003053, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  21. Carroll, Christopher D & Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Wilcox, David W, 1994. "Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1397-1408, December.
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