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The Effects of Social Spending on Economic Activity: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries

  • Davide, Furceri
  • Aleksandra, Zdzienicka

The aim of this paper is to assess the short term effects of social spending on economic activity. Using a panel of OECD countries from 1980 to 2005, the results show that social spending has expansionary effects on GDP. In particular, we find that an increase of 1% of social spending increases GDP by about 0.1 percentage point, which, given the share of social spending to GDP, corresponds to a multiplier of about 0.6. The effect is similar to the one of total government spending, and it is larger in periods of severe downturns. Among spending subcategories, social spending in Health and Unemployment benefits have the greatest effects. Social spending also positively affects private consumption while it has negligible effects on investment. The empirical results are economically and statistically significant, and robust.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/30356/1/MPRA_paper_30356.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 30356.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30356
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  2. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  8. António Afonso & Luca Agnello & Davide Furceri, 2008. "Fiscal Policy Responsiveness, Persistence, and Discretion," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 659, OECD Publishing.
  9. Duncan McVicar, 2006. "Why do disability benefit rolls vary between regions? A review of the evidence from the USA and the UK," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 519-533.
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  11. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Labor market shocks and retirement: Do government programs matter?," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 1902-1919 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. 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.
  14. Francesco Giavazzi & Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 2000. "Searching for Non-Linear Effects of Fiscal Policy: Evidence from Industrial and Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 7460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael Kumhof & Dirk Muir & Carlos de Resende & Jan in ‘t Veld & René Lalonde & Davide Furceri & Annabelle Mourougane & John Roberts & Stephen Snudden & Mathias Trabandt & Günter Coenen & Susanna, 2010. "Effects of Fiscal Stimulus in Structural Models," IMF Working Papers 10/73, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Furceri, Davide, 2010. "Stabilization effects of social spending: Empirical evidence from a panel of OECD countries," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 34-48, March.
  17. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
  20. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Consumption and Employment: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2760, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Julia Darby & Jacques Melitz, 2008. "Social spending and automatic stabilizers in the OECD," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 715-756, October.
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