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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On the ease of overstating the fiscal stimulus in the US, 2008-9

  • Author(s): Aizenman, Joshua
  • Pasricha, Gurnain Kaur
  • et al.

This note shows that the aggregate fiscal expenditure stimulus in the United States, properlyadjusted for the declining fiscal expenditure of the fifty states, was close to zero in 2009. Whilethe Federal government stimulus prevented a net decline in aggregate fiscal expenditure, it didnot stimulate the aggregate expenditure above its predicted mean. We discuss the implicationsof limitations on states' ability to run deficits for the design of fiscal stimulus at the federal level.We devote particular attention to intertemporal moral hazard concerns in a federal fiscal system,and ways to address these concerns.

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