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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
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  1. Bodo, G. & Golinelli, R. & Parigi, G., 2000. "Forecasting Industrial Production in the Euro Area," Papers 370, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
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  3. Galí, Jordi & Perotti, Roberto, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 3933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. 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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  10. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 921-39, December.
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  13. Aghion, Philippe & Hemous, David & Kharroubi, Enisse, 2014. "Credit Constraints, Cyclical Fiscal Policy and Industry Growth," Scholarly Articles 12585130, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. David B. Gordon & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Are Countercyclical Fiscal Policies Counterproductive?," NBER Working Papers 11869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Anchoring fiscal expectations," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 72, pages 17-42, September.
  17. Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Consumer Confidence and Consumer Spending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 29-50, Spring.
  18. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Jordi GalÌ & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
  20. 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.
  21. 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).
  22. 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.
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