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William Gbohoui
This paper investigates how macroeconomic uncertainty affects the fiscal multiplier of public investment. In theory, uncertainty can reduce the multiplier if the private sector becomes more cautious and does not respond to the fiscal stimulus. Conversely, it can increase the fiscal multiplier if public investment shocks improve private agents’ expectations about future economic outlook, and lead to larger private spending. Using the disagreement about GDP forecasts as a proxy for uncertainty, we find that unexpected increases in public investment have larger and longer-lasting effects on output, investment, and employment during periods of high uncertainty, with multipliers above 2, and the larger multipliers are not driven by economic slack. Public investment shocks are also found to boost private sector confidence during heightened uncertainty, driving-up expectations about future economic development which in turn magnify private sector response to the initial stimulus.
Sophia Chen and Dongyeol Lee
We provide broad-based evidence of a firm size premium of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Europe after the Global Financial Crisis. The TFP growth of smaller firms was more adversely affected and diverged from their larger counterparts after the crisis. The impact was progressively larger for medium, small, and micro firms relative to large firms. It was also disproportionally larger for firms with limited credit market access. Moreover, smaller firms were less likely to have access to safer banks: those that were better capitalized banks and with a presence in the credit default swap market. Horseraces suggest that firm size may be a more important and robust vulnerability indicator than balance sheet characteristics. Our results imply that the tightening of credit market conditions during the crisis, coupled with limited credit market access especially among micro, small, and medium firms, may have contributed to the large and persistent drop in aggregate TFP.
Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, Juliana Gamboa-Arbelaez, and Mouhamadou Sy
This paper explores whether public investment crowds out or crowds in private investment. To this aim, we build a database of about half a million firms from 49 countries. We find that the effect of public investment on corporate investment depends both on leverage and financial constraints. Public investment boosts private investment for firms with low leverage. However, for firms with high leverage, private investment does not react to an increase in public investment, in line with theory (Myers 1977). We also find that the effect of public investment on corporate investment is much weaker for firms that are financially constrained.
Jean-Marc Fournier and Philipp Lieberknecht
This paper presents a model-based fiscal Taylor rule and a toolkit to assess the fiscal stance, defined as the change in the structural primary balance. This is built on the normative buffer-stock model of the government (Fournier, 2019) which includes key channels like hysteresis, cycle-dependent multipliers and a risk premium. A simple fiscal Taylor rule prescribes the fiscal stance as a function of past government debt, past output gap and the past structural primary balance. Applications suggest several advanced economies could have better managed their fiscal stance over the last 20 years. Simulations provide fiscal stance recommendations over the medium-term.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Mr. Shekhar Aiyar, Mr. Romain A Duval, Davide Furceri, Mr. Daniel Garcia-Macia, Yi Ji, Mr. Davide Malacrino, Mr. Haonan Qu, Jesse Siminitz, and Ms. Aleksandra Zdzienicka
Cross-country differences in economic resilience—in an economy’s ability to withstand and adjust to shocks—remain significant in the euro area. In part, the differences reflect the lack of a national nominal exchange rate as a mechanism to adjust to shocks. The IMF staff has argued that union-wide architectural changes such as the banking union, the capital markets union, and a central fiscal capacity can help foster greater international risk sharing. Yet even these changes cannot insure against all shocks. National policies thus have a vital role to play. This IMF staff discussion note analyzes how national structural policies can help euro area countries better deal with economic shocks. Using a mix of empirical and modeling approaches, the note finds that growth-enhancing reforms to labor and product market regulations, tailored to country-specific circumstances, would help individual euro area economies weather adverse shocks. Higher-quality insolvency regimes are associated with more efficient factor reallocation following a shock. The note also finds that structural and cyclical policies interact. Greater rigidities make economies more fragile, putting a higher burden on fiscal policy. This is especially true for members of a monetary union. Countries should build fiscal space in good times and tackle rigidities, reducing their need for countercyclical policies in bad times while making countercyclical policies more effective when deployed.
Mirko Abbritti and Mr. Sebastian Weber
We build a two-country currency union DSGE model with endogenous growth to assess the role of cross-country differences in product and labor market regulations for long-term growth and for the adjustment to shocks. We show that with endogenous growth, there is no reason to expect real income convergence. Large shocks, through endogenous TFP movements, can lead to permanent changes of output and real exchange rates. Differences are exacerbated when member countries have different product and labor market regulations. Less regulated economies are likely to have higher trend growth and recover faster from negative shocks. Results are consistent with higher inflation, lower employment and disappointing TFP growth rates experienced in the less reform-friendly euro area members.