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Does Neoclassical Theory Account for the Effects of Big Fiscal Shocks? Evidence From World War II

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  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Lee E. Ohanian

Abstract

There is much debate about the usefulness of the neoclassical growth model for assessing the macro-economic impact of fiscal shocks. We test the theory using data from World War II, which is by far the largest fiscal shock in the history of the United States. We take observed changes in fiscal policy during the war as inputs into a parameterized, dynamic general equilibrium model and compare the values of all variables in the model to the actual values of these variables in the data. Our main finding is that the theory quantitatively accounts for macroeconomic activity during this big fiscal shock.

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  • Ellen R. McGrattan & Lee E. Ohanian, 2006. "Does Neoclassical Theory Account for the Effects of Big Fiscal Shocks? Evidence From World War II," NBER Working Papers 12130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12130
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    Cited by:

    1. He, Hui, 2012. "What drives the skill premium: Technological change or demographic variation?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1546-1572.
    2. Lee E. Ohanian, 2016. "The Great Recession in the Shadow of the Great Depression: A Review Essay on “Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession and the Uses and Misuses Of History”," NBER Working Papers 22239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay D. Maoz, 2015. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 1031-1073.
    4. Harrison, Sharon & Weder, Mark, 2009. "Technological change and the roaring twenties: A neoclassical perspective," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 363-375, September.
    5. Javier Andrés & José Emilio Boscá & Javier Ferri, 2011. "Household Leverage and Fiscal Multipliers," Working Papers 1103, International Economics Institute, University of Valencia.
    6. Stéphane Auray & Aurélien Eyquem & Frédéric Jouneau-Sion, 2009. "Riots, Battles and Cycles," Cahiers de recherche 09-01, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke, revised 05 Apr 2009.
    7. Tenhofen, Jörn & Wolff, Guntram B., 2007. "Does anticipation of government spending matter? Evidence from an expectation augmented VAR," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2007,14, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    8. Franck Portier, 2008. "Interprétation d'épisodes historiques à l'aide de modèles dynamiques stochastiques d'équilibre général," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(4), pages 33-46.
    9. Ellen R. M cG rattan & Lee E. Ohanian, 2010. "Does Neoclassical Theory Account For The Effects Of Big Fiscal Shocks? Evidence From World War Ii," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 509-532, May.
    10. Matthew N. Luzzetti & Lee E. Ohanian, 2012. "The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money after 75 Years: The Importance of Being in the Right Place at the Right Time," Chapters,in: Keynes’s General Theory, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Siu, Henry E., 2008. "The fiscal role of conscription in the U.S. World War II effort," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1094-1112, September.
    12. Stéphane Auray & Aurélien Eyquem, 2016. "Episodes of War and Peace in an Estimated Open Economy Model," Working Papers 2016-01, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    13. Ohanian, Lee E., 2014. "The impact of monetary policy in the midst of big shocks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 35-48.
    14. Javier Andrés & Rafael Doménech, 2006. "Fiscal Rules and Macroeconomic Stability," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 176(1), pages 9-41, April.
    15. Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2011. "Optimal fertility during World War I," MPRA Paper 35709, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Martin Fernando M., 2012. "Government Policy Response to War-Expenditure Shocks," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-40, July.
    17. Carlson Mark A & King Thomas & Lewis Kurt, 2011. "Distress in the Financial Sector and Economic Activity," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, June.
    18. Ercolani, Valerio & Valle e Azevedo, João, 2014. "The effects of public spending externalities," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 173-199.
    19. Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2006. "Stark optimal fiscal policies and sovereign lending," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 337-352.
    20. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
    21. Gunji, Hiroshi & Miyazaki, Kenji, 2011. "Estimates of average marginal tax rates on factor incomes in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 81-106, June.
    22. Eugene N. White & Filippo Occhino & Kim Oosterlinck, 2007. "How Occupied France Financed Its Own Exploitation in World War II," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 295-299, May.
    23. repec:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/696277 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Angeletos, George-Marios & Panousi, Vasia, 2009. "Revisiting the supply side effects of government spending," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 137-153, March.
    25. Hansen, G.D. & Ohanian, L.E., 2016. "Neoclassical Models in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.

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    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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