Fiscal decisions on budget deficits, taxes and public spending have mostly been debated as if they were largely political choices, with much less influence than monetary policy on macroeconomic outcomes such as inflation, growth and employment. Yet the reality has turned out to be the opposite. While every major economy in the world has followed essentially the same(!) monetary policy since 2008, their fiscal policies have been very different and the divergence in outcomes, especially when we compare the United States and Europe, has been exactly the opposite to what was implied by the rhetoric of most politicians and central banks.
But that´s not right at all. According to the data, the US, for example, did both more fiscal expansion (measured by the cyclically adjusted fiscal balance) in 2008-09 than the Euro Zone and more fiscal contraction since 2010.
Nevertheless, NGDP in the US dropped by a bit more (relative to trend) in 2008-09 than in the EZ. As the charts indicate NGDP in both “countries” grew at the same rate from the trough to early 2011, diverging after the ECB tightened monetary policy in April and July 2011.
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