Home > Teoria > Seria a Recessão o Melhor Momento para Diminuir o Déficit do Governo?

Seria a Recessão o Melhor Momento para Diminuir o Déficit do Governo?

Esta é uma importante questão econômica. É comum encontrar economistas respondendo afirmativamente, e não são raras as tentativas reais de países que tentam diminuir o déficiti de seus governos justamente na fase recessiva de um ciclo, com a esperança de que isso levaria o país a uma maior taxa de crescimento e a uma menor relação dívida/PIB. Entretanto, temos váriaz razões para pensar justamente o contrário. O único caso histórico de um país que logrou resultados positivos com austeridade fiscal durante uma recessão foi a Irlanda em 1987. Fora esse caso específico, em que a Irlanda obteve sua recuperão não pela redução do déficit mas sim pelo boom de suas exportações e pela depreciação cambial, não há outro registro histórico que corrobore a ideia de que austeridade fiscal leve a uma expansão da renda interna. Confira aqui muito mais sobre este importante debate.

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Um recente artigo escrito por Alesina e Ardagna (Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2009. “Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending,” NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy – clique aqui para ler o artigo completo em PDF)  tenta provar que em termos de incentivo ao crescimento do PIB, é melhor cortar impostos do que aumentar os gastos públicos, em clara oposição ao que Keynes escreveu em 1937.

“The first question, namely whether tax cuts or spending increases are more expansionary is a critical one, and economists strongly disagree about the answer. It is fair to say that we know relatively little about the effect of fiscal policy on growth and in particular about the so called fiscal multipliers, namely how much one dollar of tax cuts or spending increases translates in terms of GDP. The issue is very politically charged as well, since right of center economists and policymakers believe in tax cuts and the left of center ones believe in spending increases. While the differences are often rooted in different views about the role of government and inequality, not so much about the size of fiscal multipliers, both sides also wish to “sell” their prescription as growth enhancing and more so than the other policy. Unfortunately both sides can’t be right at the same time!”

“Fiscal stimuli based upon tax cuts are more likely to increase growth than those based upon spending increases. As for fiscal adjustments, those based upon spending cuts and no tax increases are more likely to reduce deficits and debt over GDP ratios than those based upon tax increases. In addition, adjustments on the spending side rather than on the tax side are less likely to create recessions”

O estudo vale para países da OCDE no período de 1970 a 2007.

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Entretanto, outro artigo escrito por Mike Konczal e Arjun Jayadev (clique aqui para ler o aquivo completo em PDF) mostra justamente o contrário se o país estiver na fase recessiva do ciclo. Eles usam os dados de Alesina e Ardagna para evidenciar que os episódios de crescimento do PIB após redução do déficit não ocorrem durante uma recessão, o que reinforça o argumento de que redução do déficit público não leva a uma expansão econômica  e nem a uma queda da relação dívida/PIB se o país estiver enfrentando uma recessão econômica. Cito aqui um trecho do artigo de Konczal e Jayadev:

“Should the United States cut its deficit in the short term? This has been the subject of intense debate among politicians, policy analysts and thinkers over the past year. What are the consequences of cutting the deficit with interest rates low, unemployment high and growth uncertain?

A recent paper by Alberto F. Alesina and Silvia Ardagna (2009), “Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes Versus Spending” (henceforth A & A), looks at a cross section of deficit reduction policies among different countries. It examines examples where large-scale deficit reduction is associated with economic expansion and where the debt-to-GDP ratio falls in the medium-term (3 years after the adjustment). Based on this research, many popular commentators suggest that the U.S. can adopt such a policy and grow.

However, upon a further examination of the data such a conclusion is unmerited. The overwhelming majority of the episodes used by A & A did not see deficit reduction in the middle of a slump. Where they did, it often resulted in a decline in the subsequent growth rate or an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Of the 26 episodes that they identify as ‘expansionary’, in virtually none did the country a) reduce the deficit when the economy was in a slump and b) increase growth rates while reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio. The sole example not covered by those two qualifiers can be explained by a combination of two policy maneuvers that are not easily available to the U.S. at the moment: currency depreciation and interest rate reduction”

We expand on their initial examination and cover the entire data set of 107 observations, finding very little evidence for success when cutting in a slump—in our terminology, when the growth rate in the previous year was lower than the average growth rate over the past three years. Only one additional case out of 107 can be seen as an example of success in fiscal consolidation, and we show that this does not bear scrutiny either.

Key Findings

– Countries historically do not cut their deficits in a slump, instead addressing these problems during a non-recessionary time.

– When countries cut in a slump, it often results in lower growth and/or higher debt-to-GDP ratios. In very few circumstances are countries able to successfully cut during a slump, and this happens only when either interest rates and/or the exchange rates fall sharply.

– In our analysis, we find that there is no episode in which a country facing the same circumstances as the United States (recent recession, low interest rates, high unemployment) has cut its deficit and succeeded in reducing its debt through growth.

– We conclude that there is little evidence provided by A & A that cutting the federal deficit in the short-term, under the conditions the United States currently faces, would improve the country’s prospects. It may even make the United States’ situation far worse”

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Clique aqui também para ver o que Paul Krugman escreveu no New York Times sobre este assunto.

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(*) Agradeço ao colega Martin Rapetti por ter enviado os link.

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