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The elusive costs and the immaterial gains of fiscal contraints

We study whether and how fiscal restrictions alter the business cycle features macrovariables for a sample of 48 US states. We also examine the 'typical' transmission properties of fiscal disturbances and the implied fiscal rules of states with different fiscal restrictions. Fiscal constraints are characterized with a number of indicators. There are similarities in second moments of macrovariables and in the transmission properties of fiscal shocks across states with different fiscal constraints. The cyclical response of expenditure differs in size and sometimes in sign, but heterogeneity within groups makes point estimates statistically insignificant. Creative budget accounting is responsible for the pattern. Implications for the design of fiscal rules and the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact are discussed.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 928.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:928
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  13. von Hagen, Jurgen & Wolff, Guntram B., 2006. "What do deficits tell us about debt? Empirical evidence on creative accounting with fiscal rules in the EU," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3259-3279, December.
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  18. Ramey, Valerie A. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1998. "Costly capital reallocation and the effects of government spending," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 145-194, June.
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  20. Gerald Carlino & Keith Sill, 1997. "Regional economies: separating trends from cycles," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue May, pages 19-31.
  21. Philip R. Lane, 2002. "The Cyclical Behaviour of Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the OECD," Trinity Economics Papers 20022, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
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  25. Evi Pappa, 2005. "New Keynesian or RBC Transmission? The Effects of Fiscal Policy in Labor Markets," Working Papers 293, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  26. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Moriyama, Kenji, 2006. "Fiscal adjustment in EU countries: A balance sheet approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3281-3298, December.
  27. Henning Bohn & Robert P. Inman, . "Balanced Budget Rules and Public Deficits: Evidence from the U.S. States (Reprint 060)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 10-96, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  28. Canova, Fabio & Pappa, Evi, 2003. "Price Dispersions in Monetary Unions: The Role of Fiscal Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 3746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Ohanian, Lee E, 1997. "The Macroeconomic Effects of War Finance in the United States: World War II and the Korean War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 23-40, March.
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