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Public Consumption Over the Business Cycle

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  • Ruediger Bachmann
  • Jinhui Bai

Abstract

What fraction of the business cycle volatility of government purchases is accounted for as endogenous reactions to overall macroeconomic conditions? We answer this question in the framework of a neoclassical representative household model where the provision of a public consumption good is decided upon endogenously and in a time-consistent fashion. A simple frictionless version of such a model with aggregate productivity as the sole driving force can explain almost all the volatility of U.S. non-defense government consumption expenditures. However, such a model fails to match other important features of the business cycle dynamics of public consumption, which comes out as not persistent enough and too synchronized with the cycle. We add implementation lags and implementation costs in the budgeting process to the model, plus taste shocks for public consumption relative to private consumption, and achieve a substantially better match to the data. All these ingredients are essential to improve the fit. Depending on the precise specification of the flow utility function over private consumption, public consumption and leisure, 25-40 percent of the variance of public consumption is driven by aggregate productivity shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2011. "Public Consumption Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 17230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17230
    Note: EFG PE POL
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Public consumption and the business cycle
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-08-18 19:49:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Grechyna, Daryna, 2016. "The Structure of Government Spending and the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 72029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Bachmann, Rüdiger & Sims, Eric R., 2012. "Confidence and the transmission of government spending shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 235-249.
    3. Azzimonti, Marina & Talbert, Matthew, 2014. "Polarized business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 47-61.
    4. Marina Azzimonti, 2015. "The dynamics of public investment under persistent electoral advantage," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 653-678, July.
    5. Facundo Piguillem & Anderson Schneider, 2013. "Heterogeneous Labor Skills, The Median Voter and Labor Taxes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 332-349, April.
    6. Juan Equiza Goni, 2014. "Sovereign Debt in the U.S. and Growth Expectations," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2014-25, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Atalay, Yasemin & Kalfagianni, Agni & Pattberg, Philipp, 2017. "Renewable energy support mechanisms in the Gulf Cooperation Council states: Analyzing the feasibility of feed-in tariffs and auction mechanisms," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 723-733.
    8. Xu, Kun & Xu, Wenli, 2015. "中国政府消费支出对经济波动的传导机理分析
      [Study on Influential Mechanism Between Government Expenditure of Consumption and Economic Fluctuation]
      ," MPRA Paper 70994, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2015.
    9. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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