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Cost of borrowing shocks and fiscal adjustment
Do capital markets impose fiscal discipline on governments? We investigate the responses of fiscal variables to a change in the interest rate paid by governments on their debt in a panel of 14 European countries over four decades. To this end, we estimate a panel vector autoregressive (PVAR) model, using sign restrictions via the penalty function method of Mountford and Uhlig (2009) to identify structural cost of borrowing shocks. Our baseline estimation shows that a 1 percentage point rise in the cost of borrowing leads to a cumulative improvement of the primary balance-to-GDP ratio of approximately 2 percentage points over 10 years, with the fiscal response becoming significantly evident only two years after the shock. We also find that the bulk of fiscal adjustment takes place via a rise in government revenue rather than a cut in primary expenditure. The size of the total fiscal adjustment, however, is insufficient to avoid the gross government debt-to-GDP ratio from rising as a consequence of the shock. Sub-dividing our sample, we also find that for countries participating in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) the primary balance response to a cost of borrowing shock was stronger in the period after 1992 (the year in which the Maastricht Treaty was signed) than prior to 1992.
AUTHORS: de Groot, Oliver; Holm-Hadulla, Fédéric; Leiner-Killinger, Nadine
Macroeconomic Implications of Oil Price Fluctuations : A Regime-Switching Framework for the Euro Area
We investigate whether the response of the macro-economy to oil price shocks undergoes episodic changes. Employing a regime-switching vector autoregressive model we identify two regimes that are characterized by qualitatively different patterns in economic activity and inflation following oil price shocks in the euro area. In the 'normal regime', oil price shocks trigger only limited and short-lived adjustments in these variables. In the 'adverse regime', by contrast, oil price shocks are followed by sizeable and sustained macroeconomic fluctuations, with inflation and economic activity moving in the same direction as the oil price. The responses of inflation expectations and wage growth point to second-round effects as a potential driver of the dynamics characterizing the adverse regime. The systematic response of monetary policy works against such second-round effects in the 'adverse regime' but is insufficient to fully offset them. The model also delivers (conditional) probabilities for being (staying) in either regime, which may help interpret oil price fluctuations -- and inform deliberations on the adequate policy response -- in real-time.
AUTHORS: Holm-Hadulla, Fédéric; Hubrich, Kirstin