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.
We develop a simple model to examine the conditions under which delaying fiscal consolidation can affect the present value of GDP via the fiscal stance's effects on the output gap and hysteresis. We find that the absolute size of the fiscal multiplier-the focus of much empirical investigation and policy debate-is likely inconsequential in this regard. Rather, what matters is the degree to which the multiplier during the initial period of fiscal stimulus differs from the multiplier when the stimulus is withdrawn. If the multiplier is constant over time, delaying consolidation is unlikely to significantly boost the present value of GDP via effects on the output gap and hysteresis. The potential success of such efforts relies instead on exploiting time-variation in multipliers.