Lawrence H. Summers Photo

Lawrence H. Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor
Director, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Littauer Bldg 242
Fatas, Antonio, and Lawrence H. Summers. "The Permanent Effects of Fiscal Consolidations." Journal of International Economics 112 (May 2018): 238-250.


The global financial crisis has permanently lowered the path of GDP in all advanced economies. At the same time, and in response to rising government debt levels, many of these countries have been engaging in fiscal consolidations that have had a negative impact on growth rates. We empirically explore the connections between these two facts by extending to longer horizons the methodology of Blanchard and Leigh (2013) regarding fiscal policy multipliers. Our results provide support for the presence of strong hysteresis effects of fiscal policy. The large size of the effects points in the direction of self-defeating fiscal consolidations as suggested by DeLong and Summers (2012). Attempts to reduce debt via fiscal consolidations have very likely resulted in a higher debt to GDP ratio through their long-term negative impact on output.