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Direct Propagation of a Fiscal Shock: Evidence from Italy's Stability Pact

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This paper documents: the channels through which local governments propagate a fiscal shock; and the corresponding reaction by firms in the affected upstream sector (municipal procurement). The shock is provided by an Italian fiscal rule, called Patto di stabilita' dei comuni, which was tightened unexpectedly in 2008 and applied only to municipalities with population greater than 5,000. Using a difference-indifference identification strategy, we estimate that this shock led to a 13-20% reduction of infrastructure spending in treated municipalities, or equivalently, an 80% reduction in the average municipality. In contrast, current expenditure was not affected. In the upstream sector, i.e., the infrastructure procurement sector, firms reacted to the demand shock by cutting capital rather than labor. In both cases, then, the capital/investment sector is found to be a pre-eminent channel of direct shock propagation. In addition, the fiscal demand shock is found to propagate disproportionately through those private-sector firms which are most exposed to the shocked sector. This finding suggests that direct shock transmission depends on the higher moments of the exposure distribution, beyond the average sectoral exposure that is represented by the input-output linkages. Using procurement-market data we rule out the possibility that our estimates are attenuated by spillover effects operating through competition in the procurement market.

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  • Decio Coviello & Immacolata Marino & Tommaso Nannicini & Nicola Persico, 2017. "Direct Propagation of a Fiscal Shock: Evidence from Italy's Stability Pact," CSEF Working Papers 484, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:484
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    Keywords

    fiscal rules; industry dynamics; firm dynamics.;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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