IMF Fiscal Affairs and Research Departments

Conference on Fiscal Policy—Program

This event has already taken place. The agenda below is for reference only. Upcoming events can be found here.

Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Time: 8:50 am - 6:30 pm
Venue: IMF Headquarters, HQ2, Room 01A-820
1900 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20431

The conference is open to outside participants, but prior registration is required. If you are interested in attending, please send your contact information by email to Maria Delariarte ( by May 29.

The global financial crisis and the ensuing sharp decline in economic activity has led to a renewed focus on the role of fiscal policy. Many governments around the world have been implementing fiscal stimulus packages, and many have also provided substantial support to the ailing financial sectors. In addition, countries are witnessing the impact of automatic stabilizers—revenue collections have declined sharply and some expenditure programs have automatically increased in response to the decling activity.

These fiscal policy measures raise many critical questions: how effective is discretionary fiscal policy in stimulating acivity; how long are implementation lags, and can they be reduced; what is the role of automatic stabilizers, and what are the tradeoffs in enhancing them; what is the impact of quantitative easing on interest rates; and what role can be played by fiscal rules and independent councils to anchor expectations with regard to government solvency.

The IMF is organizing a conference bringing together leading academics, policymakers and practioners to explore these issues (see program for details). The first session will provide an opportunity for economic modelers to report on recent results regarding the size of fiscal multipliers (based on a modeling workshop organized by the IMF in mid-May). This will be followed by presentations on the effectiveness of discretionary fiscal policy. The afternoon session will explore the efficacy of non-discretionary fiscal policies (including evidence on the working of the automatic stabilizers). The last session will discuss the role of fiscal institutions in enhancing the effectiveness of fiscal policy, and stabilizing expectations with regard to sustainability. The conference will conclude with a high-level panel of academic and policy experts providing insights into the role of fiscal policy.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009
8:50-9:00 a.m.Welcome address by Mr. Lipsky, IMF First Deputy Managing Director
Session I: Discretionary Fiscal Policies
Chair: Charles Collyns (IMF Research Department)
9:00-11:00 a.m. Effects of Fiscal Stimulus in Structural Models
Presentation: Doug Laxton (IMF Research Department)
What do structural models suggest about the magnitude of fiscal multipliers and what they depend on? What elements are the models missing?
Discussant: David Romer (University of California, Berkeley, IMF Special Advisor)
The implications of non-conventional monetary easing and fiscal defcits for interest rates and the economy: Some scenarios based on GPM and GIMF
Presentation: Charles Freedman (Carleton University)
The implications of non-conventional monetary easing and fiscal deficits for interest rates
Discussant: Vincent Reinhart (American Enterprise Institute)
11:00-11:15 a.m. Coffee Break
Chair: Phil Gerson (IMF Fiscal Affairs Department)
11:15-1:00 p.m. What does the empirical evidence suggest about the effectiveness of discretionary fiscal actions?
Presentation: Roberto Perotti (Università Bocconi)
Discussion on Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy by Carlos Végh (University of Maryland),
Discussion by Antonio Spilimbergo (IMF Research Department)
Implementation Lags of Fiscal Policy
Presentation: Douglas Elmendorf (U.S. Congressional Budget Office)
Discussant: Marco Cangiano (IMF Fiscal Affairs Department)
1:00-2.15 p.m. Lunch (By invitation only)
Session II: Non-Discretionary Fiscal Policies
Chair: Ajai Chopra (IMF European Department)
2:15-4:00 p.m. The Effectiveness of Automatic Stabilizers
Presentation: Antonio Fatás (INSEAD)
Discussion by Luis Servén (World Bank),
Discussion by Steve Symansky (IMF Fiscal Affairs Department)
A couple of issues in automatic stabilisation: Efficiency effects and medium-term sustainability
Presentation: Carlos Martinez-Mongay (European Commission)
Comments on Automatic Stabilizers
Discussant: Bill Gale (Brookings)
4:00-4:15 p.m. Coffee Break
Session III: Other Issues in the Design and Implementation of Fiscal Policy
Chair: Manmohan Kumar (IMF Fiscal Affairs Department)
4:15-5:15 p.m. Fiscal Discipline
Presentation: Charles Wyplosz (Graduate Institute for International Studies, Geneva)
Fiscal (in)discipline: the UK experience
Discussant: Robert Chote (Institute of Fiscal Studies)
Concluding Panel Discussion
5:15-6:30 p.m. Olivier Blanchard (IMF, Economic Counselor and Director, Research Department)
Marco Buti (Director General, European Commission)
Carlo Cottarelli (IMF, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department)
Paulo Nogueira Batista, Jr. (IMF, Executive Director)
Recoveries from Financial Recessions Charles L. Schultze (Senior Fellow Emeritus, Brookings)
For any queries related to the conference, please contact the organizers: Thomas Baunsgaard (, Manmohan Kumar (, and Doug Laxton (