Are Government Spending Multipliers Greater During Periods of Slack? Evidence from 20th Century Historical Data
FRB of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2013-004A
16 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 21, 2013
A key question that has arisen during recent debates is whether government spending multipliers are larger during times when resources are idle. This paper seeks to shed light on this question by analyzing new quarterly historical data covering multiple large wars and depressions in the U.S. and Canada. Using an extension of Ramey’s (2011) military news series and Jordà’s (2005) method for estimating impulse responses, we find no evidence that multipliers are greater during periods of high unemployment in the U.S. In every case, the estimated multipliers are below unity. We do find some evidence of higher multipliers during periods of slack in Canada, with some multipliers above unity.
Keywords: fiscal policy, multipliers, business cycles
JEL Classification: E62, H50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation