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Author:Debortoli, Davide 

Working Paper
Understanding the Size of the Government Spending Multiplier: It's in the Sign

This paper argues that an important, yet overlooked, determinant of the government spending multiplier is the direction of the fiscal intervention. Regardless of whether we identify government spending shocks from (i) a narrative approach, or (ii) a timing restriction, we find that the contractionary multiplier- the multiplier associated with a negative shock to government spending- is above 1 and largest in times of economic slack. In contrast, the expansionary multiplier- the multiplier associated with a positive shock- is substantially below 1 regardless of the state of the cycle. These ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2021-01

Working Paper
Monetary regime switches and unstable objectives

Monetary policy objectives and targets are not necessarily stable over time. The regime switching literature has typically analyzed and interpreted changes in policymakers' behavior through simple interest rate rules. This paper analyzes policy regime switches explicitly modeling policymakers' behavior and objectives. We show how current monetary policy is affected and should optimally respond to alternative regimes. We also show that changes in the parameters of simple rules do not necessarily correspond to changes in policymakers' preferences. In fact, capturing and interpreting regime ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1036

Working Paper
Loose commitment

Due to time-inconsistency or policymakers' turnover, economic promises are not always fulfilled and plans are revised periodically. This fact is not accounted for in the commitment or the discretion approach. We consider two settings where the planner occasionally defaults on past promises. In the first setting, a default may occur in any period with a given probability. In the second, we make the likelihood of default a function of endogenous variables. We formulate these problems recursively, and provide techniques that can be applied to a general class of models. Our method can be used to ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 916

Working Paper
Political disagreement, lack of commitment and the level of debt

We analyze how public debt evolves when successive policymakers have different policy goals and cannot make credible commitments about their future policies. We consider several cases to be able to disentangle and quantify the respective effects of imperfect commitment and political disagreement. Absent political turnover, imperfect commitment drives the long-run level of debt to zero. With political disagreement, debt is a sizeable fraction of GDP and increasing in the degree of polarization among parties, no matter the degree of commitment. The frequency of political turnover does not ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 938

Journal Article
Can Government Spending Help to Escape Recessions?

A key to designing fiscal policy is understanding how government purchases affect economic output overall. Research suggests that expanding government spending is not very effective at stimulating an economy in normal times. However, in deep downturns when monetary policy is constrained at the zero lower bound, public spending is more potent and can become an effective way to escape a recession.
FRBSF Economic Letter , Volume 2021 , Issue 02 , Pages 01-05

Working Paper
Loose commitment in medium-scale macroeconomic models: theory and applications

This paper proposes a method and a toolkit for solving optimal policy with imperfect commitment. As opposed to the existing literature, our method can be employed in medium- and large-scale models typically used in monetary policy. We apply our method to the Smets and Wouters (2007) model, where we show that imperfect commitment has relevant implications for interest rate setting, the sources of business cycle fluctuations, and welfare.
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1034

Working Paper
Optimal time-consistent government debt maturity

The current literature on a government's optimal debt maturity structure contends that by purchasing short-term assets and selling long-term debt, it is possible to fully insulate the economy against fiscal shocks. The required short and long positions are large relative to GDP and constant. The market value of debt adjusts automatically and the constant debt positions and fluctuating bond prices insulate against potential shocks. However, achieving the goal of averting future shocks depends on the government perfectly committing to the future fiscal policy, for without this sustained ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-4

Working Paper
Designing a simple loss function for the Fed: does the dual mandate make sense?

Variable and high rates of price inflation in the 1970s and 1980s led many countries to delegate the conduct of monetary policy to "instrument-independent" central banks and to give their central banks a clear mandate to pursue price stability and instrument independence to achieve it. Advances in academic research supported a strong focus on price stability as a means to enhance the independence and credibility of monetary policymakers. An overwhelming majority of these central banks also adopted an explicit inflation target to further strengthen credibility and facilitate accountability. ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-3

Working Paper
The macroeconomic effect of external pressures on monetary policy

Central banks, whether independent or not, may occasionally be subject to external pressures to change policy objectives. We analyze the optimal response of central banks to such pressures and the resulting macroeconomic consequences. We consider several alternative scenarios regarding policy objectives, the degree of commitment and the timing of external pressures. The possibility to adopt " more liberal" objectives in the future increases current inflation through an accommodation effect. Simultaneously, the central bank tries to anchor inflation by promising to be even " more ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 944

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