The macroeconomic literature on automatic stabilization tends to focus on taxes and dismiss the relevance of government expenditure, aside from unemployment compensation. Our results go sharply contrary to this view. We engage in an empirical analysis of 20 OECD countries from 1980-2001 and find that age- and health-related social expenditure as well as incapacity benefits all react to the cycle in a stabilizing manner. While possibly new in the macro literature, this conforms to many results in studies of labor and health. Moreover, when the focus is on the ratio of the net surplus to output, automatic stabilization comes essentially from the spending side. Taxes contribute nothing at all.
|Place of Publication||Glasgow|
|Publisher||University of Strathclyde|
|Number of pages||41|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2007|
- automatic stabilization
- discretionary fiscal policy
- cyclically adjusted budget balances