Fiscal Stimulus in a Small Euro Area Economy
The international economic and financial crisis elicited an intensive debate on fiscal stimulus programmes. Although the topics have been diverse, most of the research is focused on large countries, some of them in autarky. The literature covering small economies is thinner and for those integrated in a monetary union is virtually nonexistent. This paper is a contribution to fill this gap. The discussion draws on a New-Keynesian general equilibrium model introduced in Almeida, Castro and Félix (2008), which features a small euro area economy. Contrary to most of the literature that considers infinitely lived households, the model features stochastic finite lifetime households following Blanchard (1985), which are a source of non-Ricardian behaviour and allow for pinning-down the steady state net foreign asset position endogenously. Since in a small euro area economy monetary policy is not an available business cycle stabilisation tool, the use of fiscal policy to pursue this goal seems the only alternative. The results reveal that permanent government expenditure increases should be avoided, as opposed to temporary stimulus. This outcome is identical to the one obtained in the literature for large economies. Lags in the program implementation and limited credibility can however undermine the objectives of a temporary stimulus. In particular, in financial distress circumstances, under which the stimulus may trigger a hike in the country's risk premium, the effectiveness of the stimulus might be negligible.
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