This paper examines the stabilizing effects of Swiss fiscal policy. First, we find that the federation adopted a countercyclical fiscal policy in approximately 60% of all periods observed. During recessions, fiscal policy was always countercyclical and therefore helped to stabilize the economy. In case of the cantons, fiscal policy was countercyclical in 55% of all recessions. In recent years, there has been a trend for both the federation and the cantons toward stronger stabilization. Second, the two stabilizing instruments of fiscal policy, automatic stabilizers and discretionary fiscal policy are compared with each other. Over the last 50 years, automatic stabilizers have been expanded continuously, particularly on the federal level. We find that the impulse of automatic stabilizers is about twice as large as the one of discretionary fiscal policy. Third, macroeconomic effects of Switzerland's fiscal policy during recessions are examined. Automatic stabilizers have been particularly effective in the cantons whereas the effects of discretionary fiscal policy on economic growth have tended to be weaker. Copyright 2010 die Autoren Journal compilation 2010, Verein für Socialpolitik und Blackwell Publishing Ltd.