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Fiscal Policy for the Crisis

38 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2009  

Antonio Spilimbergo

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute

Steven Symansky

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Fiscal Affairs Department

Olivier J. Blanchard

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Carlo Cottarelli

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 7, 2009

Abstract

The current crisis calls for two main sets of policy measures. First, measures to repair the financial system. Second, measures to increase demand and restore confidence. While some of these measures overlap, the focus of this note is on the second set of policies, and more specifically, given the limited room for monetary policy, on fiscal policy.

The optimal fiscal package should be timely, large, lasting, diversified, contingent, collective, and sustainable: timely, because the need for action is immediate; large, because the current and expected decrease in private demand is exceptionally large; lasting because the downturn will last for some time; diversified because of the unusual degree of uncertainty associated with any single measure; contingent, because the need to reduce the perceived probability of another "Great Depression" requires a commitment to do more, if needed; collective, since each country that has fiscal space should contribute; and sustainable, so as not to lead to a debt explosion and adverse reactions of financial markets. Looking at the content of the fiscal package, in the current circumstances, spending increases, and targeted tax cuts and transfers, are likely to have the highest multipliers. General tax cuts or subsidies, either for consumers or for firms, are likely to have lower multipliers.

Keywords: fiscal policy, financial crisis, stimulus

JEL Classification: E61, E62, H00

Suggested Citation

Spilimbergo, Antonio and Symansky, Steven and Blanchard, Olivier J. and Cottarelli, Carlo, Fiscal Policy for the Crisis (February 7, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1339442 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1339442

Antonio Spilimbergo (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States
202-623-6346 (Phone)
202-623-6336 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute ( email )

724 E. University Ave.
Wyly Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234
United States

Steven Symansky

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Fiscal Affairs Department ( email )

700 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Olivier J. Blanchard

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Carlo Cottarelli

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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