Refereed Journal // 2020

Biases in Fiscal Multiplier Estimates

The size of fiscal multipliers is intensively debated as large (small) multipliers provide arguments to expand (cut) public spending. We use data on multiplier estimates from over a hundred scholarly studies, and ask whether the national imprint and various incentives that the authors face can help explain the large observed variance in these estimates. We complement this meta-analytical data with information on economists' personal characteristics collected from their biographies and through a self-conducted survey. Our evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that national background and policy orientation of researchers matter for the size of multiplier estimates. We only find weak support for the hypothesis that the interests of donors financing the research are relevant. Significant biases largely disappear for teams of international co-authors.

Asatryan, Zareh, Annika Havlik, Friedrich Heinemann and Justus Nover (2020), Biases in Fiscal Multiplier Estimates, European Journal of Political Economy 63