Varčevanje v krizi ubija

Številu znanstvenih študij, ki so v zadnjih letih pokazale, kako škodljivo je vladno varčevanje (austerity) v času krize, se je pridružila pravkar objavljena študija Òscarja Jorde & Alana M. Taylorja (oba sta raziskovalca na Fed), ki z uporabo nove metode za identifikacijo učinkov ukrepov varčevanja potrdi, kar so pokazale že prejšnje študije. In še več: pokaže, da so negativni učinki varčevanja v času krize celo večji, kot so bile ocene do sedaj. Če vlada v času krize zmanjša proračunski deficit za 1% BDP, bo to v 5 letih zmanjšalo BDP za 3.5%, medtem ko bi v času rasti ta negativni učinek znašal samo 1.8% BDP. Jorda & Taylor torej potrjujeta ugotovitve drugih študij (predvsem Auerbach & Gorodnichenko (2012, 2013); Guajardo et al. (2014)), da so v času krize fiskalni multiplikatorji bistveno večji kot v dobrih časih.

Jorda & Taylor tudi primerjata učinke ameriške in britanske fiskalne politike v času sedanje krize in pokažeta, da medtem ko so ZDA zaradi uvedbe stimulativnih fiskalnih ukrepov kontinuirano rasle po letu 2009, pa je Britanjija zaradi fiskalnega varčevanja padla v novo recesijo. Natančneje, fiskalno varčevanje v Britaniji je do leta 2013 odneslo 3.1% BDP.

In pri tem smo nazaj pri Keynesu, ki je že leta 1937 povedal, da je pravi čas za varčevanje države v dobrih časih in ne v krizi:

The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury. – J. M. Keynes (1937)

Tukaj opozarjam ne previdnost: ta Keynesova ugotovitev seveda velja za državo, ne pa za denimo podjetja in gospodinjstva. Medtem ko je za slednja logično in racionalno, da v času krize varčujejo (in se razdolžujejo), pa mora država v času krize ravnati nasprotno in nadoknaditi izpad trošenja podjetij in gospodinjstev zaradi varčevanja. Če ne, pride do (poglobitve) recesije. Tukaj ne smete, kot sem že nekajkrat zapisal, podleči logiki “švabske gospodinje”, da se mora država v času krize držati enake logike kot gospodinjstva. Gospodinjska logika v glavi finančnega ministra vodi v katastrofo.

Spodaj je nekaj kratkih ugotovitev študije:

We find that, on average, fiscal consolidations generate a drag on GDP growth. The effect is also state dependent: if a 1% of GDP fiscal consolidation is imposed in a slump then it results in a real GDP loss of around 3.5% over five years, rather than just 1.8% in a boom.

To provide more texture to our results, we evaluate the UK austerity programme implemented by the Coalition Government after the 2010 election. The Global Financial Crisis struck the US and the UK in a similar way and these economies ran on parallel trajectories until 2010. Thereafter the UK experienced a second slowdown while the US continued to grow. Using our estimates we compute how much of the slowdown could be attributed to the austerity programme; we find it to be a very significant contribution (rising to 3.1% of GDP in 2013) and larger than official estimates. Thus, better models, with state-dependent features, could improve official fiscal policy analyses going forward.

We calculate the impact of fiscal policy shocks based on LPs using the AA measure of policy, the change in the cyclically-adjusted primary balance (d.CAPB).4 When we restrict attention to ‘large’ shocks (changes in CAPB larger in magnitude than 1.5% of GDP, which is the benchmark cutoff value used by AA and proposed earlier by Alesina and Perotti, 1995), we replicate the ‘expansionary austerity’ result. However, when we condition on the state of the economy, we find that this result is driven entirely by what happens during a boom. The expansionary effects of fiscal consolidation evaporate when the economy is in a slump.

Third, we then use instrumental variable (IV) estimation of the LPs to account for unobserved confounders. Specifically, we instrument the cyclically-adjusted primary balance using the IMF’s narrative measure of an exogenous fiscal consolidation in GLP. This type of ‘narrative-based identification’ has been applied by, e.g. Romer and Romer (1989, 1997), Ramey and Shapiro (1998) and Mertens and Ravn (2013, 2014). Our IV estimation then turns out to replicate the flavour of the GLP results: austerity is contractionary, and strongly so in slumps.

Vir: Òscar Jorda & Alan M. Taylor, The Time for Austerity: Estimating the Average Treatment Effect of Fiscal Policy, Economic Journal, 126, Februar 2016.

 

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