NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fiscal Analysis is Darned Hard

Eric M. Leeper

NBER Working Paper No. 21822
Issued in December 2015
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

Dramatic fiscal developments in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and global recession led researchers to recognize how little we know about fiscal policies and their impacts. This essay argues that fiscal analysis that aims to address pertinent issues and provide useful inputs to policymakers is intrinsically hard. I illustrate this with examples torn from the economic headlines in many countries. I identify some essential ingredients for useful fiscal analysis and point to examples in the literature that integrate some of those ingredients. Recent methodological advances give reason to be optimistic about fiscal analyses in the future.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21822

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