DP599 | Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity

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We present and analyse an optimizing model which explains the counter-intuitive effects of fiscal policy in terms of expectations. If government spending follows an upward-trending stochastic process, which the public believes may fall sharply when it reaches specific `target points', then optimizing consumption behaviour and simple budget constraint arithmetic imply a non-linear relationship between private consumption and government spending. This theoretical relation is consistent with the experience of several countries.