Do US Government Tax Revenues and Expenditures Respond to Debt Levels and Economic Conditions Asymmetrically over the Business Cycle?

Steven P Cassou, Hedieh Shadmani


This paper empirically investigates whether there are asymmetries in the responses of US government tax revenue and expenditure to debt levels and economic conditions over the business cycle. State of the art regime switching regression models, including Threshold Regression and Markov Switching, are investigated. Both sides of the government budget show asymmetries, but the asymmetries for tax revenue show greater statistical significance. The results show that both tax revenue and expenditure respond to high debt levels, with the asymmetry in this response showing that fiscal authorities take weaker action in response to debt during poor economic times. In addition, the asymmetric response to economic conditions for both sides of the budget shows that stronger countercyclical policy is taken during poor economic times.

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Applied Economics and Finance    ISSN 2332-7294 (Print)   ISSN 2332-7308 (Online)

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