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The Great Recession 2007-09 has led to controversies around the role of fiscal policy. Academically this has translated into renewed interest in the effects of fiscal policy. Several studies have since suggested that fiscal multipliers are substantially larger in downswings or depressions than in the upswing. In terms of economic policy reactions countries have differed substantially in the fiscal stance. It is an important open question how big the impact of these policies on economic growth has been. The paper uses the regime-dependent multiplier estimates by Qazizada and Stockhammer (2015) and by Gechert and Rannenberg (2014) to calculate the demand effects of fiscal policy for Germany, USA, UK, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain since 2008. This allows assessing to what extent fiscal policy explains different economic performances across countries. We find expansionary fiscal policy in 2008/09 in all countries, but since 2010 fiscal policies have differed. While the fiscal impact was roughly neutral in Germany, the UK, and the USA, it was large and negative in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
Keywords: multiplier, fiscal policy, austerity, recession
JEL classification: C36 E62