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Alexander Klemm

24 July 2014
This paper looks at the impact of discretionary fiscal policy on economic growth for a sample of 18 EU countries over the period 1998-2011. The main novelty of this paper is the use, on the revenue side, of a dataset of fiscal measures based on the yield of actual legislative and budgetary measures, rather than approximations, such as changes in cyclically-adjusted variables. Using static and dynamic panel data techniques, we find that fiscal consolidation can be a drag on economic growth in the short-term, although some specific budget categories are not found to be statistically significant. In general, the results also indicate that expenditure-based adjustment tends to be less harmful than revenue-based adjustment. Among expenditure cuts, reductions in government investment and consumption are found to be growth reducing. Among revenues, indirect tax increases are found to have a particularly strong negative impact. Dynamic specifications suggest that consolidation reduces growth mainly in the year of fiscal adjustment, while future growth rates are affected only through the usual time persistence. Nonlinear specifications indicate that spreading out consolidation reduces the negative impact on growth, but only very slightly and in the absence of financial market pressures and/or fiscal sustainability considerations. Additionally, front-loading fiscal consolidation appears to be less detrimental for growth when it is based on expenditure cuts rather than tax increases
JEL Code
H20 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→General
H30 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents→General
H50 : Public Economics→National Government Expenditures and Related Policies→General
C33 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models
26 March 2015
This paper considers the impact of changes in governments' payment discipline on the private sector. We argue that increased delays in public payments can affect private sector liquidity and profits and hence ultimately economic growth. We test this prediction empirically for European Union countries using two complementary approaches. First, we use annual panel data, including a newly constructed proxy for government arrears. Using panel data techniques, including methods that allow for endogeneity, we find that payment delays and to some extent estimated arrears lead to a higher likelihood of bankruptcy, lower profits, and lower economic growth. While this approach allows a broad set of variables to be included, it restricts the number of time periods. We therefore complement it with a Bayesian VAR approach on quarterly data for selected countries faced with significant payment delays. With this second approach, we also find that the likelihood of bankruptcies rises when the governments increase the average payment period.
JEL Code
E6 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
H6 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
H8 : Public Economics→Miscellaneous Issues