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Effectiveness of Countercyclical Fiscal Policy: Time-Series Evidence from Developing Asia

  • Jha, Shikha

    (Asian Development Bank)

  • Mallick, Sushanta

    (Asian Development Bank)

  • Park, Donghyun

    (Asian Development Bank)

  • Quising, Pilipinas

    (Asian Development Bank)

As the global crisis hit developing Asia, several countries instituted fiscal stimulus measures to create domestic demand. With the region returning to normal times, in this paper we draw lessons using historical data from 10 developing Asian countries to examine if countercyclical fiscal policy can still be used to stimulate growth. To do so, we use a sign-restrictions-based structural vector autoregression model. We find that expansionary expenditure shocks have an insignificant effect on output but contractionary revenue shocks have a negative effect. On the basis of those estimated effects, we perform and compare two policy experiments: deficit-financed tax cuts and deficit spending. The experiment results indicate that while deficit-financed tax cuts stimulate economic activity, the impact of deficit spending is ambiguous. Our overall evidence thus suggests that tax cuts may be a more effective countercyclical policy instrument than government spending. However, a number of factors suggest that Asian governments should be cautious about actively using tax cuts for countercyclical purposes, in part because a big part of the revenue shocks in developing Asia are cyclical rather than discretionary.

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Paper provided by Asian Development Bank in its series ADB Economics Working Paper Series with number 211.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:adbewp:0211
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  1. Mountford, Andrew & Uhlig, Harald, 2002. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ludger Linnemann & Andreas Schabert, 2005. "Productive Government Expenditure in Monetary Business Cycle Models," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-053/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Cogan, John F. & Cwik, Tobias & Taylor, John B. & Wieland, Volker, 2009. "New Keynesian versus old Keynesian government spending multipliers," CEPR Discussion Papers 7236, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Burriel, Pablo & de Castro Fernández, Francisco & Garrote, Daniel & Gordo, Esther & Paredes, Joan & Pérez, Javier J., 2009. "Fiscal policy shocks in the euro area and the US: an empirical assessment," Working Paper Series 1133, European Central Bank.
  5. Evi Pappa, 2009. "The Effects Of Fiscal Shocks On Employment And The Real Wage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 217-244, 02.
  6. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368.
  7. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
  8. Caldara, Dario & Kamps, Christophe, 2008. "What are the effects of fiscal policy shocks? A VAR-based comparative analysis," Working Paper Series 0877, European Central Bank.
  9. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2004. "Meta-analysis of the effect of fiscal policies on long-run growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 91-124, March.
  11. Amjad, Rashid, 1984. "The management of Pakistan's economy 1947-82," MPRA Paper 35850, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Fiscal Policy in Good Times and Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1399-1436.
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