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Fiscal multipliers in recessions and expansions : does it matter whether government spending is increasing or decreasing ?

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  • Riera-Crichton, Daniel
  • Vegh, Carlos A.
  • Vuletin, Guillermo

Abstract

Using non-linear methods, this paper finds that existing estimates of government spending multipliers in expansion and recession may yield biased results by ignoring whether government spending is increasing or decreasing. For industrial countries, the problem originates in the fact that, contrary to one's priors, it is not always the case that government spending is going up in recessions (i.e., acting countercyclically). In almost as many cases, government spending is actually going down (i.e., acting procyclically). Since the economy does not respond symmetrically to government spending increases or decreases, the"true"long-run multiplier for bad times (and government spending going up) turns out to be 2.3 compared to 1.3 if we just distinguish between recession and expansion. In the case of developing countries, the bias results from the fact that the multiplier for recessions and government spending going down (the"when-it-rains-it-pours"phenomenon) is larger than when government spending is going up.

Suggested Citation

  • Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2014. "Fiscal multipliers in recessions and expansions : does it matter whether government spending is increasing or decreasing ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6993, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6993
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Végh, 2005. "When It Rains, It Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 11-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Òscar Jordà, 2005. "Estimation and Inference of Impulse Responses by Local Projections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 161-182, March.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 63-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 763-801, June.
    7. Michael T. Owyang & Valerie A. Ramey & Sarah Zubairy, 2013. "Are government spending multipliers greater during periods of slack? evidence from 20th century historical data," Working Papers 2013-004, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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    11. 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.
    12. Ilzetzki, Ethan & Mendoza, Enrique G. & Végh, Carlos A., 2013. "How big (small?) are fiscal multipliers?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 239-254.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Quelle politique budgétaire faut-il adopter lors d'une récession ?
      by ? in D'un champ l'autre on 2014-09-30 03:04:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Şen, Hüseyin & Kaya, Ayşe, 2017. "How large are fiscal multipliers in Turkey?," EconStor Preprints 162763, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    2. Carlos A. Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2014. "Social Implications of Fiscal Policy Responses During Crises," NBER Working Papers 19828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Antonio Lemus, 2018. "Dynamic Effects of the Chilean Fiscal Policy," EconomiX Working Papers 2018-33, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    4. Şen, Hüseyin & Kaya, Ayşe, 2015. "Growth enhancing effect of discretionary fiscal policy shocks: Keynesian, Weak Keynesian or Non-Keynesian?," MPRA Paper 65976, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Aug 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Urban Economics; Economic Stabilization; Public Sector Fiscal Adjustment; Debt Markets; Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures;

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