The Effects of Fiscal Consolidations: Theory and Evidence


Alesina, Alberto, Omar Bariero, Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi, and Matteo Paradisi. Working Paper. “The Effects of Fiscal Consolidations: Theory and Evidence”.
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We investigate the macroeconomic effects of fiscal consolidations based upon government spending cuts, transfers cuts and tax hikes. We extend a narrative dataset of fiscal consolidations, with details on over 3500 measures for 16 OECD countries. We show that government spending cuts and cuts in transfers are much less harmful than tax hikes, despite the fact that nondistortionary transfers are not classified as spending. Standard New Keynesian models robustly match our results when fiscal shocks are persistent. Wealth effects on aggregate demand mitigate the impact of a persistent spending cut. Static distortions caused by persistent tax hikes cause larger shifts in aggregate supply under sticky prices.