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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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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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  1. 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.
  2. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2006. "Labor Market Shocks and Retirement: Do Government Programs Matter?," NBER Working Papers 12559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
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  5. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  6. Roberto Perotti, 2004. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Papers 276, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
  8. Henry, Jerome & Hernandez de Cos, Pablo & Momigliano, Sandro, 2008. "The impact of government budgets on prices: Evidence from macroeconometric models," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 123-143.
  9. Giavazzi, Francesco & Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 2000. "Searching for Non-Linear Effects of Fiscal Policy: Evidence from Industrial and Developing Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2374, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. António Afonso & Luca Agnello & Davide Furceri, 2008. "Fiscal Policy Responiveness, Persistence and Discretion," Working Papers Department of Economics 2008/50, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  11. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2003. "The Case For Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1419-1447, November.
  12. 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.
  13. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  14. Sutherland, Alan, 1995. "Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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.
  16. Davide Furceri & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2009. "The Impact of Government Spending on the Private Sector: Crowding-out versus Crowding-in Effects"," NIPE Working Papers 6/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  17. Baotai Wang, 2005. "Effects of government expenditure on private investment: Canadian empirical evidence," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 493-504, 09.
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  19. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise In The Disability Rolls And The Decline In Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-205, February.
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  21. 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.
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