NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Government Spending and Private Activity

Valerie A. Ramey

Chapter in NBER book Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis (2013), Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi, editors (p. 19 - 55)
Conference held December 12-13, 2011
Published in June 2013 by University of Chicago Press
© 2013 by the National Bureau of Economic Research

This chapter examines the effect of government spending on private spending, unemployment, and employment, and shows that an increase in government spending never leads to a significant rise in private spending. In fact, in most cases, it leads to a significant fall. These results imply that the government spending multiplier is more likely below one rather than above one. The chapter also shows that all of the increase in employment after a positive shock to government spending is attributable to an increase in government employment, not private employment. These results suggest that the employment effects of government spending work through the direct hiring of workers, not stimulating the private sector to hire more workers.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.7208/chicago/9780226018584.003.0002

This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w17787, Government Spending and Private Activity, Valerie A. Ramey
Commentary on this chapter: Comment, Roberto Perotti
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