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Reinventing Fiscal Policy

  • Philip Arestis

    (The Levy Economics Institute)

  • Malcolm Sawyer

    (Leeds University)

Recent developments in macroeconomic policy, in terms of both theory and practice, have elevated monetary policy while downgrading fiscal policy. Monetary policy has focused on the setting of interest rates as the key policy instrument, along with the adoption of inflation targets and the use of monetary policy to target inflation. Elsewhere, we have critically examined the significance of this shift, which led us to question the effectiveness of monetary policy. We have also explored the role of fiscal policy and argued that it should be reinstated. This contribution aims to consider further that conclusion. We consider at length fiscal policy within the current "new consensus" theoretical framework. We find the proposition of this thinking, that fiscal policy provides at best a limited role, unconvincing. We examine the possibility of crowding out and the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem. A short review of quantitative estimates of fiscal policy multipliers gives credence to our theoretical conclusions. Our overall conclusion is that, under specified conditions, fiscal policy is a powerful tool for macroeconomic policy.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series General Economics and Teaching with number 0306004.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 05 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:0306004
Note: Type of Document - MS Word; prepared on PC; to print on HP/PostScript; pages: 22 ; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Robert S. Chirinko, 1992. "Business Fixed Investment Spending: A Critical survey of Modeling Strategies, Empirical Results, and Policy Implications," Working Papers 9213, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steven R. Cunningham & Jon Vilasuso, 1995. "Is Keynesian Demand Management Policy Still Viable?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 17(2), pages 187-210, January.
  4. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions Be Expansionary? Tales of Two Small European Countries," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 75-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Bennett T. McCallum, 2001. "Monetary policy analysis in models without money," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 145-164.
  7. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. C. John McDermott & Eswar Prasad & Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1999. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations in Developing Countries; Some Stylized Facts," IMF Working Papers 99/35, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Timothy D. Lane & Marianne Schulze-Gattas & T. M. Tsikata & Steven Phillips & Atish R. Ghosh & A. Javier Hamann, 1999. "IMF-Supported Programs in Indonesia, Korea and Thailand," IMF Occasional Papers 178, International Monetary Fund.
  10. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," NBER Working Papers 1686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Wynne Godley, 1999. "Seven Unsustainable Processes: Medium-Term Prospects and Policies for the United States and the World," Economics Strategic Analysis Archive 99-10, Levy Economics Institute.
  12. James Tobin, 1991. "Price Flexibility and Output Stability: An Old Keynesian View," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 994R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Sep 1991.
  13. N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Do Long-Term Interest Rates Overreact to Short-Term Interest Rates?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(1), pages 223-248.
  14. Laurence H. Meyer, 2001. "Does money matter?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 1-16.
  15. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  16. Arestis, Philip & Sawyer, Malcolm, 1998. "Keynesian Economic Policies for the New Millennium," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 181-95, January.
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