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

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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.

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  • 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. Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco & Alesina, Alberto & Paradisi, Matteo & Barbiero, Omar, 2017. "The effects of Fiscal Consolidations: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 12016, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Moulaye Bamba & Jean-Louis Combes & Alexandru Minea, 2020. "The effects of fiscal consolidations on the composition of government spending," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(14), pages 1517-1532, March.
    3. Barry Eichengreen & Poonam Gupta, 2018. "Managing Sudden Stops," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Enrique G. Mendoza & Ernesto Pastén & Diego Saravia (ed.),Monetary Policy and Global Spillovers: Mechanisms, Effects and Policy Measures, edition 1, volume 25, chapter 2, pages 009-047, Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Auerbach, Alan J & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy, 2017. "Fiscal Stimulus and Fiscal Sustainability," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt90t9q1mx, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2019. "Effects of Austerity: Expenditure- and Tax-Based Approaches," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 141-162, Spring.
    6. Dmitri Blueschke & Klaus Weyerstrass & Reinhard Neck & Boris Majcen & Andrej Srakar & Miroslav Verbič, 2019. "Budget consolidation in a small open economy: a case study for Slovenia," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 325-348, May.
    7. Hommes, Cars & Lustenhouwer, Joep & Mavromatis, Kostas, 2018. "Fiscal consolidations and heterogeneous expectations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 173-205.
    8. Mario Di Serio & Matteo Fragetta & Emanuel Gasteiger, 2020. "The Government Spending Multiplier at the Zero Lower Bound: Evidence from the United States," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(6), pages 1262-1294, December.
    9. Favero, Carlo A. & ,, 2019. "Austerity and Public debt Dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 14072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. van der Wielen, Wouter, 2020. "The macroeconomic effects of tax changes: Evidence using real-time data for the European Union," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 302-321.
    11. 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 - CEnter for Labor and Political Economics, University of Salerno, Italy.
    12. Angela Köppl & Margit Schratzenstaller, 2022. "Macroeconomic Effects of Green Recovery Programmes. Conceptual Framing and a Review of the Empirical Literature," WIFO Working Papers 646, WIFO.
    13. Meier, Samira & Rodriguez Gonzalez, Miguel & Kunze, Frederik, 2021. "The global financial crisis, the EMU sovereign debt crisis and international financial regulation: lessons from a systematic literature review," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    14. Fabio Bertolotti & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2019. "Tax shocks with high and low uncertainty," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(6), pages 972-993, September.
    15. Mr. Armand P Fouejieu & Mr. Sergio L. Rodriguez & Mr. Sohaib Shahid, 2018. "Fiscal Adjustment in the Gulf Countries: Less Costly than Previously Thought," IMF Working Papers 2018/133, International Monetary Fund.

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    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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