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The macroeconomic effects of fiscal consolidation policies in Greece

Stephanos Papadamou () and Trifon Tzivinikos

Journal of Financial Economic Policy, 2017, vol. 9, issue 1, 34-49

Abstract: Purpose - This paper investigates the effects of contractionary fiscal policy shocks on major Greek macroeconomic variables within a structural vector autoregression (SVAR) framework while accounting for debt dynamics. Design/methodology/approach - The sign restriction approach is applied to identify a linear combination of a government spending and a government revenue shock simultaneously while accounting for debt dynamics. Additionally, output and unemployment responses to fiscal shocks under different scenarios concerning the amalgamation of austerity measures are considered. Findings - Our results indicate that a contractionary consumption policy shock, namely a 1% decrease in government consumption and a 1% increase in indirect taxes, is preferred, as it produces a minor decrease in output and substantially decreases public debt, while a contractionary wage policy shock is suitable only when the government aims to sharply reduce public debt, as the consequences for the economy are harsh. A contractionary investment policy shock is not recommended, as it triggers a rise in unemployment and a fall in output, while the effect on the public debt is minor. Practical implications - Policy-makers should focus their efforts on reducing unproductive government consumption on the expenditure side. Concerning revenues the reinforcement of tax administration is recommended to ensure that indirect taxes will be collected. Originality/value - We contribute to the existing literature by providing a disaggregated analysis of the effects of fiscal policy actions in Greece by implementing several fiscal policy scenarios and accounting for the level of public debt. All scenarios are in the vein of the Economic Adjustment Programs (EAPs) guidelines.

Keywords: Taxation; Debt; SVAR; Macroeconomics; Public economics; Fiscal policy; C32; E62; H63; J68 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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