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Is it the "How" or the "When" that Matters in Fiscal Adjustments?

Author

Listed:
  • Alberto Alesina
  • Gualtiero Azzalini
  • Carlo Favero
  • Francesco Giavazzi
  • Armando Miano

Abstract

Using data from 16 OECD countries from 1981 to 2014 we study the effects on output of fiscal adjustments as a function of the composition of the adjustment – that is, whether the adjustment is mostly based on spending cuts or on tax hikes – and of the state of the business cycle when the adjustment is implemented. We find that both the “how” and the “when” matter, but the heterogeneity related to the composition is more robust across different specifications. Adjustments based upon permanent spending cuts are consistently much less costly than those based upon permanent tax increases. Our results are generally not explained by different reactions of monetary policy. However, when the domestic central bank can set interest rates – that is outside of a currency union – it appears to be able to dampen the recessionary effects of consolidations implemented during a recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Gualtiero Azzalini & Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi & Armando Miano, 2016. "Is it the "How" or the "When" that Matters in Fiscal Adjustments?," NBER Working Papers 22863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22863
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    Cited by:

    1. Alesina, Alberto & Barbiero, Omar & Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco & Paradisi, Matteo, 2017. "The effects of Fiscal Consolidations: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 12016, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2017. "Fiscal Stimulus and Fiscal Sustainability," NBER Working Papers 23789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. AMENDOLA, Adalgiso & DI SERIO, Mario & FRAGETTA, Matteo, 2018. "The Government Spending Multiplier at the Zero Lower Bound: Evidence from the Euro Area," CELPE Discussion Papers 153, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    4. DI SERIO, Mario & FRAGETTA, Matteo & GASTEIGER, Emanuel, 2017. "The Government Spending Multiplier at the Zero Lower Bound: Evidence from the United States," CELPE Discussion Papers 150, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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