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Fiscal Austerity Measures: Spending Cuts vs. Tax Increases


  • Gerhard Glomm

    () (Department of Economics, Indiana University - Bloomington)

  • Juergen Jung

    () (Department of Economics, Towson University)

  • Chung Tran

    () (Research School of Economics, The Australian National University)


We formulate an overlapping generations model with skill heterogeneity and productive and non-productive government programs to study the macroeconomic and intergenerational welfare effects caused by risk premium shocks and government debt reductions. We demonstrate that in a small open economy with a high level of debt-to-GDP ratio a small increase in the risk premium leads to substantial output contraction and negative welfare effects. Next, we quantify the effects of reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio using a wide range of fiscal austerity measures. These reforms result in trade-offs between short-run contractions and long-run expansions in aggregate output. In addition, the spending-based austerity reform is dominated by the tax-based reform in terms of income in the short run, but becomes dominant in the long run. The welfare effects vary significantly across generations, depending on fiscal austerity measures, skills and working sector. The current old and middle age generations experience welfare losses while current young workers and future generations are beneficiaries of the reforms. A mixed reform results in the largest welfare effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerhard Glomm & Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2013. "Fiscal Austerity Measures: Spending Cuts vs. Tax Increases," Working Papers 2013-01, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2013-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gerhard Glomm & Juergen Jung, 2015. "A Macroeconomic Analysis Of Energy Subsidies In A Small Open Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(4), pages 1783-1806, October.
    2. George Kudrna & Chung Tran, 2015. "Budget Repair Measures: Tough Choices for Australia's Future," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2015-628, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    3. Salvatore Dell'Erba & Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro & Ksenia Koloskova, 2014. "Medium-Term Fiscal Multipliers during Protracted Recessions," IMF Working Papers 14/213, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item


    Fiscal consolidation; welfare; distributional effects; overlapping generations; dynamic general equilibrium.;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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