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Do Public Investments Increase Employment in a Recession? Evidence from Germany

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  • Buchheim, Lukas
  • Watzinger, Martin

Abstract

In 2009, Germany invested 15.4 Billion Euro in infrastructure to avert the looming recession. In this study, we evaluate whether the German stimulus program was successful in limiting the impact of the crisis on the job market. We exploit exogenous cross-sectional variation to identify the casual effect of stimulus investment on the change in unemployment on the county level. By law, 65 percent of the stimulus funds were earmarked for the renovation of existing school buildings. Thus a large part of all investment was predetermined by the number and size of schools in a county which are plausibly exogenous to local economic conditions. Thus a large part of all investment was predetermined by the number and size of schools in a county which are plausibly exogenous to local economic conditions during the crisis. This opens up the possibility to use the number of schools and students as instrumental variables for stimulus investment. Our IV-estimates indicate that the stimulus program was successful in reducing the number of unemployed: On average, one job was created for every 44,000 Euro spent. This result is in line with estimates for the effectiveness of the US stimulus program. We validate our IV strategy with extensive falsification exercises and various robustness checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Buchheim, Lukas & Watzinger, Martin, 2013. "Do Public Investments Increase Employment in a Recession? Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79826, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79826
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/79826/1/VfS_2013_pid_279.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel J. Wilson, 2012. "Fiscal Spending Jobs Multipliers: Evidence from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 251-282, August.
    2. Jeffrey Clemens & Stephen Miran, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Multipliers on Subnational Government Spending," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 46-68, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Antonio Acconcia & Giancarlo Corsetti & Saverio Simonelli, 2014. "Mafia and Public Spending: Evidence on the Fiscal Multiplier from a Quasi-experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2185-2209.
    5. repec:nbr:nberch:13344 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Can Government Purchases Stimulate the Economy?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 673-685, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Horst Zimmermann, 2013. "Wie wehrte Deutschland die Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise ab? Oder: Das Erfordernis übergreifender Erklärungsansätze," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(24), pages 15-18, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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