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The Output Effect of Fiscal Consolidations

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Carlo Favero
  • Francesco Giavazzi

The present paper argues that the correct experiment to evaluate the effects of a fiscal adjustment is the simulation of fiscal plans rather than of individual fiscal shocks. The simulation of the fiscal plans adopted by 16 OECD countries over a 30-year period supports the hypothesis that the effects of consolidations depend on their design. Fiscal adjustments based upon spending cuts are much less costly, in terms of output losses, than tax-based ones. Fiscal adjustments have especially low output costs when they consist of permanent rather than stop and go. The difference cannot be explained by accompanying policies, including monetary policy, and appears to be mainly due to the different response of business confidence and private investment.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18336.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18336.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18336
Note: IFM ME
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