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Fiscal Policy, Wealth Effects, and Markups

  • Tommaso Monacelli
  • Roberto Perotti

We document that variations in government purchases generate a rise in consumption, the real and the product wage, and a fall in the markup. This evidence is robust across alternative empirical methodologies used to identify innovations in government spending (structural VAR vs. narrative approach). Simultaneously accounting for these facts is a formidable challenge for a neoclassical model, which relies on the wealth effect on labor supply as the main channel of transmission of unproductive government spending shocks. The goal of this paper is to explore further the role of the wealth effects in the transmission of government spending shocks. To this end, we build an otherwise standard business cycle model with price rigidity, in which preferences can be consistent with an arbitrarily small wealth effect on labor supply, and highlight that such effect is linked to the degree of complementarity between consumption and hours. We show that the model is able to match our empirical evidence on the effects of government spending shocks remarkably well. This happens when the preferences are such that the positive wealth effect on labor supply is small and therefore the negative wealth effect on consumption is, somewhat counterintuitively, large.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14584.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14584
Note: EFG POL
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  11. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  12. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 121-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Devereux, Michael B & Head, Allen C & Lapham, Beverly J, 1996. "Monopolistic Competition, Increasing Returns, and the Effects of Government Spending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 233-54, May.
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  15. Florin O. Bilbiie, 2009. "Nonseparable Preferences, Fiscal Policy Puzzles, and Inferior Goods," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(2-3), pages 443-450, 03.
  16. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper Series WP-01-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2008. "What's News in Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 14215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Morten Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2004. "Deep Habits," NBER Working Papers 10261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Roberto Perotti, 2008. "In Search of the Transmission Mechanism of Fiscal Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 169-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 3206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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