The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper empirically explores how fiscal policy (represented by increases in government spending) has asymmetric effects on economic activity at different levels of real interest rates. It suggests that the effect of fiscal policy depends on the level of real rates, since the Ricardian effect is smaller at lower financing costs of fiscal policy. Using threshold regression models on U.S. data, the paper provides new evidence that expansionary government spending is more conducive to short-run growth when real rates are low. It also finds asymmetric effects on interest rates and inflation, and threshold effects associated with substitution between financing methods.