Brittle, Shane, Ricardian equivalence and the efficacy of fiscal policy in Australia, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2009.
Events surrounding the global financial and economic crises of 2008 and 2009 have sparked a renewed interest in discretionary fiscal policy. This paper considers whether private saving in Australia behaves in a manner that is consistent with Ricardian equivalence, thus mitigating the effects of fiscal policy, or conversely, if fiscal policy has some ability to influence real economic activity. A model of private and public saving is estimated using the autoregressive distributed lag approach (ARDL) to cointegration. This estimation procedure is advantageous due to its ability to provide both short- and long-run coefficient estimates, and can accommodate coefficients for structural breaks. Given that the Australian economy has been subject to a substantial amount of structural change over the past 50 years, the estimations attempt to account for these structural effects on long-run savings behaviour. Results indicate that while there is not a full Ricardian response to changes in the fiscal stance, evidence suggests some partial offsetting behaviour – implying that fiscal policy does elicit some (limited) impact on economic activity.