Fiscal News and Macroeconomic Volatility


This paper analyzes the contribution of anticipated capital and labor tax shocks to business cycle volatility in an estimated New Keynesian business cycle model. While fiscal policy accounts for about 15% of output variance at business cycle frequencies, this mostly derives from anticipated government spending shocks. Tax shocks, both anticipated and unanticipated, contribute little to the fluctuations of real variables. However, anticipated capital tax shocks do explain a sizable part of inflation fluctuations, accounting for up to 12% of its variance. In line with earlier studies, news shocks in total account for about 50% of output variance. Further decomposing this news effect, we find permanent total factor productivity news shocks to be most important. When looking at the federal level instead of total government, the importance of anticipated tax and spending shocks significantly increases, suggesting that fiscal policy at the subnational level typically counteracts the effects of federal fiscal policy shocks.

Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 37(12), pp. 2582-2601