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Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Roberto Perotti

Abstract

This ppaer studies how the composition of fiscal adjustments influences their likelihood of success, defined as a long lasting deficit reduction, and their macroeconomic consequences. We find that fiscal adjustments which rely primarily on spending cuts on transfers and the government wage bill have a better chance of being successful and are expansionary. On the contrary fiscal adjustments which rely primarily on tax increases and cuts in public investment tend not to last and are contractionary. We discuss alternate explanations for these findings by studying both a full sample of OECD countries and by focusing on three case studies: Denmark, Ireland and Italy.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," NBER Working Papers 5730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5730
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Fiscal Consolidation in Europe: Composition Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 105-110, May.
    2. Henning Bohn, "undated". "Budget Balance Through Revenue or Spending Adjustments ? Some Historical Evidence for the United States (Reprint 013)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-91, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    3. 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.
    4. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
    5. Lindbeck, A., 1993. "Overshooting, Reform and Retreat of the Welfare State," Papers 552, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    6. Barro, Robert J, 1981. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1086-1121, December.
    7. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why are Stabilizations Delayed," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275509, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Baxter, M., 1992. "Financial Market Linkages and the International Transmission of Fiscal Policy," RCER Working Papers 336, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    10. 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.
    11. Jean-Claude Chouraqui & Robert P. Hagemann & Nicola Sartor, 1990. "Indicators of Fiscal Policy: A Re-Examination," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 78, OECD Publishing.
    12. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1988. "Credibility, Debt and Unemployment: Ireland's Failed Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 2785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Drazen, Allan & Grilli, Vittorio, 1993. "The Benefit of Crises for Economic Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 598-607, June.
    14. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
    15. Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 1995. "The Growth of Government and the Reform of the State in Industrial Countries," IMF Working Papers 95/130, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-1188, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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