This paper uses an individual-level survey conducted by the Edelman Trust Barometer in mid-April for 11 advanced and emerging market economies to examine perceptions of government performance in managing the health and economic crisis, beliefs about the future, and attitudes about redistribution. We find that women, non-college educated, the unemployed, and those in non-teleworkable jobs systematically have less favorable perceptions of government responses. Personally experiencing illness or job loss caused by the pandemic can shape people’s beliefs about the future, heightening uncertainties about prolonged job losses, and the imminent threat from automation. Economic anxieties are amplified in countries that experienced an early surge in infections followed by successful containment, suggesting that negative beliefs can persist. Support for pro-equality redistributive policies varies, depending on personal experiences and views about the poor. However, we find strong willingness to provide social safety nets for vulnerable individuals and firms by those who have a more favorable perception of government responses, suggesting that effective government actions can promote support for redistributive policies.
Davide Furceri, Jun Ge, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
We construct unanticipated government spending shocks for 103 developing countries from 1990 to 2015 and study their effects on income distribution. We find that unanticipated fiscal consolidations lead to a long-lasting increase in income inequality, while fiscal expansions lower inequality. The results are robust to several measures of income distribution and size of the fiscal shocks, to an alternative identification strategy, across expansions and recessions and across country groups (low-income countries versus emerging markets). An additional contribution of the paper is the computation of the medium-term inequality multiplier. This is on average about 1 in our sample, meaning that a cumulative decrease in government spending of 1 percent of GDP over 5 years is associated with a cumulative increase in the Gini coefficient over the same period of about 1 percentage point. The multiplier is larger for total government expenditure than for public investment and consumption (with the former having larger effect), likely due to the redistributive role of transfers. Finally, we find that (unanticipated) fiscal consolidations lead to an increase in poverty.
Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Mr. Herman O. Stekler
We document information rigidity in forecasts for real GDP growth in 46 countries over the past two decades. We investigate: (i) if rigidities are lower around turning points in the economy, such as in times of recessions and crises; (ii) if rigidities differ across countries, particularly between advanced countries and emerging markets; and (iii) how quickly forecasters incorporate news about growth in other countries into their growth forecasts, with a focus on how advanced countries‘ growth forecasts incorporate news about emerging market growth and vice versa.
Consensus forecasts are inefficient, over-weighting older information already in the public domain at the expense of new private information, when individual forecasters have different information sets. Using a cross-country panel of growth forecasts and new methodological insights, this paper finds that: consensus forecasts are inefficient as predicted; this is not due to individual forecaster irrationality; forecasters appear unaware of this inefficiency; and a simple adjustment reduces forecast errors by 5 percent. Similar results are found using US nominal GDP forecasts. The paper also discusses the result’s implications for users of forecaster surveys and for the literature on information aggregation.