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Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience

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  • Francesco Giavazzi
  • Marco Pagano

Abstract

In earlier work we documented two episodes in which a sharp fiscal consolidation was associated with a very large expansions in private domestic demand. In this paper we draw on further evidence to investigate if and when fiscal policy changes can have such non-Keynesian effects. In the first part of the paper, we analyze cross-country data for 19 OECD countries. In the second, we concentrate on the Swedish fiscal expansion of the early 1990s. The cross-country evidence on private consumption confirms that fiscal policy changes - both contractions and expansions - can have non-Keynesian effects if they are sufficiently large and persistent, and suggests that these effects can result not only from changes in public consumption but to some extent also from changes in taxes and transfers. The latter result is consistent with the Swedish experience where a decrease in net taxes (with almost no change in public consumption) was associated with a dramatic fall in private domestic demand. Our evidence and that from other studies agree that during the Swedish fiscal expansion of the early 1990s a large negative error appears in the consumption function. There is less consensus about how this error should be interpreted, but it is clear that the most obvious candidates (wealth effects and after-tax real interest rate effects) are not sufficient to explain it. This error may reflect a large downward revision of permanent disposable income, which affected the consumption of Swedish households over and beyond the negative effects of the drop in real asset prices. We suggest that this revision in permanent income may have been triggered, at least partly, by the fiscal expansion of the early 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," NBER Working Papers 5332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5332 Note: IFM
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Agell, J. & Berg, L. & Edin, P.A., 1995. "Tax Reform, Consumption and Asset Structure," Papers 16, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    2. Bertola, Giuseppe & Drazen, Allan, 1993. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 11-26, March.
    3. Berg, Lennart & Bergstrom, Reinhold, 1995. " Housing and Financial Wealth, Financial Deregulation and Consumption--The Swedish Case," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(3), pages 421-439, September.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "Fiscal Expansions and Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 5214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1989. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfections: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1088-1105, December.
    6. Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
    7. Berg, Lennart, 1994. "Household Savings and Debts: The Experience of the Nordic Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 42-53, Summer.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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