State-dependent effects of fiscal policy

Steven M. Fazzari 1 , James Morley 2  and Irina Panovska 3
  • 1 Department of Economics, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
  • 2 School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Business School, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
  • 3 Department of Economics, Lehigh University, 621 Taylor Street, Rauch Business Center, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA
Steven M. Fazzari, James Morley and Irina Panovska


We investigate the effects of government spending on US output with a threshold structural vector autoregressive model. We consider Bayesian model comparison and generalized impulse response analysis to test for nonlinearities in the responses of output to government spending. Our empirical findings support state-dependent effects of fiscal policy, with the government spending multiplier larger and more persistent whenever there is considerable economic slack. Based on capacity utilization as the preferred threshold variable, the estimated multiplier is large (1.6) for a low-utilization regime that accounts for more than half of the sample observations from 1967 to 2012 according to the estimated threshold level.

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SNDE recognizes that advances in statistics and dynamical systems theory can increase our understanding of economic and financial markets. The journal seeks both theoretical and applied papers that characterize and motivate nonlinear phenomena. Researchers are required to assist replication of empirical results by providing copies of data and programs online. Algorithms and rapid communications are also published.