Government and Fiscal Policy

Read this chapter to learn about how the government's fiscal actions influence aggregate demand. The chapter first introduces the components of the government's budget and then discusses discretionary fiscal policy and automatic stabilizers used to influence the economy. Some lags in the implementation of fiscal policy are identified and the concept of crowding out is introduced. Attempt the "Try It" exercises at the end of the section.

3. Issues in Fiscal Policy

Answers To Try It Problems

  1. Data on the economy that are more accurate and more speedily available should enhance the use of fiscal policy by reducing the length of the recognition lag.
  2. If private sector investment does not respond much to interest rate changes, then there will be less crowding out when expansionary policies are undertaken. That is, the rising interest rates that accompany expansionary fiscal policy will not reduce investment spending much, making the shift in the aggregate demand curve to the right greater than it would be otherwise. Also, the use of contractionary fiscal policy would be more effective, since the fall in interest rates would "invite in" less investment spending, making the shift in the aggregate demand curve to the left greater than it would otherwise be.
  3. Large supply-side effects enhance the impact of tax cuts. For a given expansionary policy, without the supply-side effects, GDP would advance only to the point where the aggregate demand curve intersects the short-run aggregate supply curve. With the supply-side effects, both the short-run and long-run aggregate supply curves shift to the right. The intersection of the AD curve with the now increased short-run aggregate supply curve will be farther to the right than it would have been in the absence of the supply-side effects. The potential level of real GDP will also increase.