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Jorge Restrepo
This paper uses the strategy and data of Blanchard and Perotti (BP) to identify fiscal shocks and estimate fiscal multipliers for the United States. With these results, it computes the cumulative multiplier of Ramey and Zubairy (2018), now common in the literature. It finds that, contrary to the peak and through multipliers reported by BP, the cumulative tax multiplier is much larger than the cumulative spending one. Hence, the conclusions depend on the definition of multiplier. This methodology is also used to estimate the effects of fiscal shocks on economic activity in eight Latin American countries. The results suggest that the fiscal multipliers vary significantly across countries, and in some cases multipliers are larger than previously estimated.
Pär Österholm and Mr. Lisandro Abrego
This paper investigates the sensitivity of Colombian GDP growth to the surroundingmacroeconomic environment. We estimate a Bayesian VAR model with informative steady-statepriors for the Colombian economy using quarterly data from 1995 to 2007. A variancedecomposition shows that world GDP growth and government spending are the most importantfactors, explaining roughly 17 and 16 percent of the variance in Colombian GDP growthrespectively. The model, which is shown to forecast well out-of-sample, can also be used toanalyse alternative scenarios. Generating both endogenous and conditional forecasts, we showthat the impact on Colombian GDP growth of a substantial downturn in world GDP growthwould be non-negligible but still a mild decline by historical standards.
Tahsin Saadi Sedik and Rui Xu
In this paper we analyze the dynamics among past major pandemics, economic growth, inequality, and social unrest. We provide evidence that past major pandemics, even though much smaller in scale than COVID-19, have led to a significant increase in social unrest by reducing output and increasing inequality. We also find that higher social unrest, in turn, is associated with lower ourput and higher inequality, pointing to a vicious cycle. Our results suggest that without policy measures, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely increase inequality, trigger social unrest, and lower future output in the years to come.