Super Haavelmo: balanced and unbalanced budget theorems and the sraffian supermultiplier

This paper extends the analysis of Haavelmo (1945), which derived the multiplier effect of a balanced budget expansion of public spending on aggregate demand and output. We first generalize Haavelmo’s results showing that a fiscal expansion can have positive effects of demand and output even in the case of a relatively small primary surplus and establishing the general principle that what matters for fiscal policy to be expansionary is that the propensity to spend of those taxed should be lower that of the government and the recipients of government transfers. We also show that endogenizing business investment as a propensity to invest makes the traditional balanced budget multiplier to become greater than one. Moreover, if this propensity to invest changes over time and adjusts capacity to demand as in the sraffian supermultiplier demand led growth model, the net tax rate that balances the budget will tend to be lower the higher is the rate of growth of government spending, even in the presence of other private autonomous expenditures.

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