Assistant Professor of Economics
Department of Economics and Legal Studies
Oklahoma State University
260 Business Building
Stillwater, OK 74078

phone: 405-744-8763



Despite much empirical evidence on business cycle-dependent government spending multipliers, the theoretical channels underlying such results are uncertain. In an environment with involuntary unemployment, this paper shows that downward nominal wage rigidity, which arises only in recessions, can generate business cycle-dependent government spending multipliers. In line with Keynesian views, a demand stimulus reduces unemployment in recessions and may not drive up inflation and wages as in expansions. Thus, the positive income effects from reduced unemployment and weaker crowding-out effects from a smaller increase in the real interest rate enhance the expansionary spending effects in recessions. The theoretical implications are largely consistent with existing empirical evidence on business cycle-dependent government spending effects on key macroeconomic variables.

Journal of Development Economics, Volume 133, July 2018, Pages 201-219

Despite the voluminous literature on fiscal policy, very few papers focus on low-income countries (LICs). This paper develops a New Keynesian small open economy model to show, analytically and numerically, that several prevalent features of LICs—dependence on external financing, public investment inefficiency, and a low degree of home bias in public investment—play important roles in government spending effects. External financing increases the resource envelope, mitigating the crowding out effects, but it tends to appreciate the real exchange rate, lowering traded output. Although capital scarcity in LICs implies high returns to public capital, low marginal investment efficiency can substantially dampen the output multiplier. Also, public investment may not be effective in stimulating output in the short run, as LICs often rely on imports to a large extent to carry out public investment projects, weakening its role as a short-run demand stimulus. [IMF Working Paper]

European Economic Review, Volume 88, September 2016, Pages 142-157

Economists often postulate that fiscal expansions are less stimulative when government debt is high than when it is low. Empirical evidence, however, is ambiguous. Using a nonlinear neoclassical growth model, we show that the difference in government spending effects between high- and low-debt environments  depends on the wealth effect on labor supply and on whether the government uses taxes or spending to retire debt. Because of interrelated state variables, structural VAR estimations conditioning on debt alone can fail to isolate debt-dependent effects. Also, uncertainty on when the government will conduct fiscal consolidations generates wide confidence bands for spending multipliers, further complicating efforts to estimate debt-dependent government spending effects.

Journal of Macroeconomics, Volume 49, September 2016, Pages 119-130

This paper studies fiscal limits in developing countries using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) approach. Distributions of fiscal limits, which measure a government's capacity to service its debt, are simulated based on macroeconomic uncertainty and fiscal policy. The analysis shows that expected future revenue plays an important role in explaining the low fiscal limits of developing countries, relative to those of developed countries. Large devaluation of real exchange rates can significantly reduce a government's capacity to service its debt and lower the fiscal limits. Temporary disturbances, therefore, can shift the distribution of fiscal limits and suddenly change perceptions about fiscal sustainability. [old version]

Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Volume 51, February 2015, Pages 459-479

Standard real business cycle models are often unable to replicate three empirical facts: positive output in response to good news, stochastic volatility of macro variables, and asymmetric business cycles. This paper proposes a unified basis for understanding these facts in a tractable dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model, in which the key is the interaction of information flows and disaster risk. Information flows fluctuate between two regimes with different precision levels for signals regarding future economic fundamentals. A shift in forecast precision changes the probability of entering an economic disaster. High disaster risk leads to low expected capital returns and a decline in hours, investment, and output. Changing information structures results in different volatility and skewness over the business cycle. Simple theory makes the two expectation effects through information flows and disaster risk transparent. Quantitatively, the model suggests that the interaction of the two expectation effects plays a significant role in accounting for the higher-order moments of the business cycle.