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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Government size and macroeconomic stability: A comment

  • Author(s): Guo, Jang-Ting
  • Harrison, S G
  • et al.

We show that in a standard, technology shock-driven one-sector real business cycle model. the stabilization effects of government fiscal policy depend crucially on how labor hours enter the household's period utility function and the associated labor-market behavior. In particular, as Gali [European Economic Review 38 (1994). 117-132] has shown. when the household utility is logarithmic in both consumption and leisure. income taxes are destabilizing and government purchases are stabilizing. However, the results are reversed when preferences are instead convex in hours worked. That is. income taxes are now; stabilizing and public spending is destabilizing. Furthermore, under both preference specifications. the magnitude of cyclical fluctuations in output remains unchanged when the income tax rate and the share of government purchases in GDP are equal (including laissez-faire). (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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