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 reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on the effectiveness of fiscal policy. The focus is on the size of fiscal multipliers, and on the possibility that multipliers can turn negative (i.e., that fiscal contractions can be expansionary). The paper concludes that fiscal multipliers are overwhelmingly positive but small. However, there is some evidence of negative fiscal multipliers.