DP9948 | Chronicle of a War Foretold: The Macroeconomic Effects of Anticipated Defense Spending Shocks

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)



We identify US defense news shocks as shocks that best explain future movements in defense spending over a five-year horizon and are orthogonal to current defense spending. Our identified shocks are strongly correlated with the Ramey (2011) news shocks, but explain a larger share of macroeconomic fluctuations and have significant demand effects. Fiscal news induces significant and persistent increases in output, consumption, investment, hours and the interest rate. Standard DSGE models fail to produce such a pattern. We propose a sticky price model with distortionary taxation, variable capital utilization, capital adjustment costs and rule-of-thumb consumers that replicates the empirical findings.