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When is the government spending multiplier large?

  • Lawrence Christiano
  • Martin Eichenbaum
  • Sergio Rebelo

We argue that the government-spending multiplier can be much larger than one when the zero lower bound on the nominal interest rate binds. The larger is the fraction of government spending that occurs while the nominal interest rate is zero, the larger is the value of the multiplier. After providing intuition for these results, we investigate the size of the multiplier in a dynamic, stochastic, general equilibrium model. In this model the multiplier effect is substantially larger than one when the zero bound binds. Our model is consistent with the behavior of key macro aggregates during the recent financial crisis.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15394.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15394.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Publication status: published as Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2011. "When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 78 - 121.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15394
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  1. Ethan Ilzetzki & Enrique G. Mendoza & Carlos A. Végh, 2010. "How Big (Small?) are Fiscal Multipliers?," NBER Working Papers 16479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
  3. R. Anton Braun & Yuichiro Waki, 2005. "Monetary Policy during Japan's Lost Decade," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-343, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  4. 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.
  5. John F. Cogan & John B. Taylor, 2012. "What the Government Purchases Multiplier Actually Multiplied in the 2009 Stimulus Package," Book Chapters, in: Lee E. Ohanian & John B. Taylor & Ian J. Wright (ed.), Government Policies and the Delayed Economic Recovery, chapter 5 Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
  6. Coenen, Guenter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The Zero-Interest-Rate and the Role of the Exchange Rate for Monetary Policy in Japan," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  7. James Tobin, 1970. "Money and Income: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 301-317.
  8. Galí, Jordi, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Coenen, Günter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The Zero-Interest Rate Bound and the Role of the Exchange Rate for Monetary Policy in Japan," CEPR Discussion Papers 3895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Joshua M. Davis, 2006. "Two Flaws In Business Cycle Accounting," NBER Working Papers 12647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 10840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Janice Eberly & Sergio Rebelo & Nicolas Vincent, 2008. "Investment and Value: A Neoclassical Benchmark," Cahiers de recherche 08-03, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
  13. JonasD.M. Fisher & Ryan Peters, 2010. "Using Stock Returns to Identify Government Spending Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 414-436, 05.
  14. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Prescott, Edward C, 1971. "Investment Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 659-81, September.
  15. Lawrence J. Christiano & Joshua M. Davis, 2006. "Two flaws in business cycle dating," Working Paper 0612, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
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