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What do we know about the effects of Austerity?

Alberto F. Alesina, Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi

NBER Working Paper No. 24246
Issued in January 2018
NBER Program(s):Public Economics

This paper summarizes the results of a large recent literature on multi year fiscal plans for deficit reduction (austerity). The key results are that deficit reduction policies based upon spending cuts are much less costly in terms of short run output losses than tax based adjustments. On average fiscal adjustment based upon spending cuts have very small output costs and in some cases they are expansionary. We then discuss which possible models can explain these findings and discuss how the evidence can disentangle them.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24246

Published: Alberto Alesina & Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2018. "What Do We Know about the Effects of Austerity?," AEA Papers and Proceedings, vol 108, pages 524-30.

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