On Public Spending and Economic Unions

40 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2020 Last revised: 26 Mar 2021

See all articles by Fernando Broner

Fernando Broner

CREI; Barcelona GSE; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; CEPR

Alberto Martin

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Centre de Recerca en Economia Internacional (CREI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jaume Ventura

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Centre de Recerca en Economia Internacional (CREI)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2020

Abstract

We analyze the conduct of fiscal policy in a financially integrated union in the presence of financial frictions. Frictions create a wedge between the return to investment and the union interest rate. This leads to an over-spending externality. While the social cost of spending is the return to investment, governments care mostly about the (depressed) interest rate they face. In other words, the crowding out effects of public spending are partly "exported" to the rest of the union. We argue that it may be hard for the union to deal with this externality through the design of fiscal rules, which are bound to be shaped by the preferences of the median country and not by efficiency considerations. We also analyze how this overspending externality -- and the union's ability to deal with it effectively -- changes when the union is financially integrated with the rest of the world. Finally, we extend our model by introducing a zero lower bound on interest rates and show that, if financial frictions are severe enough, the union is pushed into a liquidity trap and the direction of the spending externality is reversed. At such times, fiscal rules that are appropriate during normal times might backfire.

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Suggested Citation

Broner, Fernando and Martin, Alberto and Ventura, Jaume, On Public Spending and Economic Unions (September 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27831, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3696199

Fernando Broner (Contact Author)

CREI ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 2601 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.crei.cat/people/broner

Barcelona GSE

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 2601 (Phone)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 2601 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.crei.cat/people/broner

CEPR ( email )

London
United Kingdom
+34 93 542 2601 (Phone)

Alberto Martin

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Centre de Recerca en Economia Internacional (CREI) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Jaume Ventura

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Centre de Recerca en Economia Internacional (CREI) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

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