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Variation in the fiscal multiplier with the method of financing: evidence across industrial countries

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Abstract:

Government spending has often varied with the business cycle to stimulate the economy and to revive economic conditions. However, the state of public finances has often necessitated higher borrowing to finance widening fiscal deficits. Indeed, recent austerity packages around the globe have crystalized the importance of fiscal consolidation against the backdrop of rising public debt. To shed light on recent debates regarding fiscal multipliers, the article estimates variation in these multipliers with the method of financing, using annual data for a sample of industrial countries. There is a large variation in the effects of expansionary and contractinary government spending shocks on economic variables within and across countries. The significant effects of negative government spending shocks (fiscal contraction) appear more prevalent than those of expansionary shocks on real output growth, price inflation and nominal wage inflation. Consistent with theory’s predictions, the fiscal multiplier is more likely to be negative when government spending is financed by issuing debt and less likely in the case of monetization. The evidence confirms concerns about the negative effect of higher debt and more expensive financing on private activity, countering the effectiveness of fiscal policy.

Keywords: E60; E61; F62; F63; F65; crowding out; financing; fiscal multiplier; government spending

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2013.807025

Affiliations: Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, Ramlet Boulaq, Cairo, 11221, Egypt

Publication date: 2013-12-01

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