This paper studies the e®ects of ¯scal policy on GDP, in°ation and interest rates in 5 OECD countries, using a structural Vector Autoregression approach. Its main results can be summarized as follows: 1) The e®ects of ¯scal policy on GDP tend to be small: government spending multipliers larger than 1 can be estimated only in the US in the pre-1980 period. 2) There is no evidence that tax cuts work faster or more e®ectively than spending increases. 3) The e®ects of government spending shocks and tax cuts on GDP and its components have become substantially weaker over time; in the post-1980 period these e®ects are mostly negative, particularly on private investment. 4) Only in the post-1980 period is there evidence of positive e®ects of government spending on long interest rates. In fact, when the real interest rate is held constant in the impulse responses, much of the decline in the response of GDP in the post-1980 period in the US and UK disappears. 5) Under plausible values of its price elasticity, government spending typically has small e®ects on in°ation. 6) Both the decline in the variance of the ¯scal shocks and the change in their transmission mechanism contribute to the decline in the variance of GDP after 1980
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