The theoretical literature generally finds that government spending multipliers are bigger than unity in a low interest rate environment. Using a fully nonlinear New Keynesian model, we show that such big multipliers can decrease when 1) an initial debt-to-GDP ratio is higher, 2) tax burden is higher, 3) debt maturity is longer, and 4) monetary policy is more responsive to inflation. When monetary and fiscal policy regimes can switch, policy uncertainty also reduces spending multipliers. In particular, when higher inflation induces a rising probability to switch to a regime in which monetary policy actively controls inflation and fiscal policy raises future taxes to stabilize government debt, the multipliers can fall much below unity, especially with an initial high debt ratio. Our findings help reconcile the mixed empirical evidence on government spending effects with low interest rates.
Alexandra Fotiou, Ms. Wenyi Shen, and Shu-Chun Susan Yang
Using the post-WWII data of U.S. federal corporate income tax changes, within a Smooth Transition VAR, this paper finds that the output effect of capital income tax cuts is government debt-dependent: it is less expansionary when debt is high than when it is low. To explore the mechanisms that can drive this fiscal state-dependent tax effect, the paper uses a DSGE model with regime-switching fiscal policy and finds that a capital income tax cut is stimulative to the extent that it is unlikely to result in a future fiscal adjustment. As government debt increases to a sufficiently high level, the probability of future fiscal adjustments starts rising, and the expansionary effects of a capital income tax cut can diminish substantially, whether the expected adjustments are through a policy reversal or a consumption tax increase. Also, a capital income tax cut need not always have large revenue feedback effects as suggested in the literature.
Ichiro Fukunaga, Mr. Takuji Komatsuzaki, and Hideaki Matsuoka
This paper quantitatively assesses the effects of inflation shocks on the public debt-to-GDP ratio in 19 advanced economies using simulation and estimation approaches. The simulations based on the debt dynamics equation and estimations of impulse responses by local projections both suggest that a 1 percentage point shock to inflation rate reduces the debt-to-GDP ratio by about 0.5 to 1 percentage points. The results also suggest that the impact is larger and more persistent when the debt maturity is longer, but the difference from the benchmark case is not significant. These results imply that modestly higher inflation, even if accompanied by some financial repression, could reduce public debt burden only marginally in many advanced economies.
This paper compiles and reviews the evolution of Japan’s Public Sector Balance Sheet
(PSBS). In the past, large crossholdings of assets and liabilities within the public sector played a role in sustaining a high level of public debt and low interest rates. The Fiscal Investment and Loan Fund (FILF) channeled all postal deposits and pension savings to financing of public sector borrowing. After the FILF refrom in 2000, however, the Post Bank and pension funds shifted their assets to the portfolio investments and are seeking to maximize risk-adjusted returns. This has changed the implications of crossholdings for public debt management. In the future, population aging is expected to add more pressures on the PSBS, which already saw a considerable decrease of net worth over the last three decades.
The macroeconomic policy response in India after the North Atlantic financial crisis (NAFC) was rapid. The overshooting of the stimulus and its gradual withdrawal sowed seeds for inflationary and BoP pressures and growth slowdown, then exacerbated by domestic policy bottlenecks and volatility in international financial markets during mid-2013. Appropriate domestic oil prices and fiscal consolidation will contribute to the recovery of private sector investment. Fiscal consolidation would also facilitate a reduction in inflation, which would moderate gold imports and favorably impact real exchange rate and current account deficit.
This paper highlights the state of Public Finances Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor. This edition of the Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor provides an update of global fiscal developments and policy strategies, based on projections from the November 2009 WEO. These projections reflect the assessment of IMF staff of current country policies and initiatives expected during 2009–2014 Underlying fiscal trends in advanced economies are weaker than previously projected, however, lower expected costs of financial sector support in the United States mean that 2009 headline numbers are better. New estimates of needed medium-term fiscal adjustment in advanced economies. Fiscal policy will continue to provide substantial support to aggregate demand in most countries this year, but a tightening is projected to commence next year in G-20 emerging markets. Fiscal policy is projected to begin tightening in emerging G-20 economies next year, reflecting a combination of reduced anti-crisis spending and expected consolidation beyond the withdrawal of crisis-related stimulus in Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey, supported by a pick-up of growth. Higher commodity prices are also expected to contribute to lower overall deficit.
In response to the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, government budgets and central banks have provided substantial support for aggregate demand and for the financial sector. In the process, fiscal balances have deteriorated, government liabilities and central bank balance sheets have been expanded, and risks of future losses for the public sector have increased.
Mr. Paolo Mauro, Mr. Mark A Horton, and Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar
This paper presents sharp increase in government debt has complicated the management of preexisting challenges from population aging, especially in advanced economies. The increase in debt ratios projected for these economies is the largest since World War II. The increase in deficits and debt raises complicated tradeoffs. Policymakers will need to balance two competing risks: on the one hand, a too hasty withdrawal of fiscal stimulus would risk nipping a recovery in the bud; on the other hand, with a delayed withdrawal investor concerns about sustainability may increase, leading to higher interest rates on government paper, undermining the recovery and increasing risks of a snowballing of debt. Regardless of the timing of adjustment, its necessary scale will be quite large, particularly for high-debt advanced economies. Preserving investor confidence in government solvency is key to avoiding an increase in interest rates, thereby not only preventing snowballing debt dynamics, but also ensuring that the fiscal stimulus is effective.
This paper analyzes how fiscal and monetary policy typically respond during downturns in G7 countries. It evaluates whether discretionary fiscal responses to downturns are timely and temporary, and compares the response of fiscal policy to that of monetary policy. The results suggest that while responding more weakly and less quickly than monetary policy, discretionary fiscal policy is more timely than conventional wisdom would suggest, particularly in “Anglo-Saxon” countries, but the response differs substantially across fiscal instruments. Both fiscal and monetary policy are found to be subject to an easing bias, with more easing during downturns than tightening during upturns; and liable to easing in response to erroneously perceived downturns, many of which are subsequently revised to expansions.
Mr. Gauti B. Eggertsson and Mr. Jonathan David Ostry
This paper examines the effects of quantitative easing implemented by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) since early 2001, looking specifically at the impact on inflation expectations and real asset prices. It suggests a number of possible channels through which quantitative easing may have exerted influence, and reviews some of the empirical evidence linking open market operations and long-term bond purchases to real yields and other asset prices. It argues that quantitative easing has had smaller effects on nominal and real variables than desired, mainly because the BoJ has not succeeded in credibly communicating its policy intentions once the zero bound on short-term rates ceases to be binding. It argues that setting clear goals for inflation and a return to interest rate targeting are not only key elements of a successful strategy to avoid deflation, but are also essential to pin down expectations and avoid instability once deflation wanes.